Patient Care

Delirium Severity Scoring System CAM-S Correlates with Length of Stay, Mortality


Clinical question: Does the CAM-S, a modified version of the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), which measures delirium severity, correlate with clinical outcomes?

Background: In 1990, Dr. Sharon Inouye developed the CAM, which is a common, standard measure to identify the presence of delirium. Although other scoring systems exist to quantify delirium severity, Dr. Inouye proposes an extension of the CAM (CAM-S) to measure delirium severity.

Study design: Validation analysis.

Setting: Three academic medical centers in the U.S.

Synopsis: Two validation cohorts of patients 70 years or older without dementia and moderate-to-high-risk of developing delirium during hospitalization were studied. The first cohort comprised 300 patients scheduled for elective, noncardiac surgery; the second cohort was made up of 250 patients admitted to an inpatient medical service. The CAM-S uses the same items as the original CAM and rates each symptom 0 for absent, 1 for mild, or 2 for marked; acute onset of fluctuation receives 0 (absent) or 1 (present). Higher CAM-S scores appear to correlate with various outcome measures, including increased length of stay, new nursing home placement, and 90-day mortality.

Bottom line: Higher scores on the CAM-S, a scoring system based on the CAM and designed to measure delirium severity, are associated with worse in-hospital and post-discharge outcomes.

Citation: Inouye SK, Kosar CM, Tommet D, et al. The CAM-S: development and validation of a new scoring system for delirium severity in 2 cohorts. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(8):526-533.

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