Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 41–47 | Cite as

Surgical delay is a risk factor of delirium in hip fracture patients with mild–moderate cognitive impairment

  • Giulio PioliEmail author
  • Chiara Bendini
  • Andrea Giusti
  • Paolo Pignedoli
  • Michele Cappa
  • Enrico Iotti
  • Maria Alice Ferri
  • Eleonora Bergonzini
  • Ettore Sabetta
Original Article



To investigate the relationship between onset of delirium and time to surgery in hip fracture (HF) patients with a different degree of cognitive impairment.


Retrospective analysis of a prospective database of 939 older adults, aged ≥ 75 years admitted with a fragility HF. Subjects underwent a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment on admission, evaluating health status, prefracture functional status in basic and instrumental activities of daily living, and walking ability. According to the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire score, patients were stratified into three categories: cognitively healthy (0–2 errors), mildly to moderately impaired (3–7 errors) and severely impaired (8–10 errors). Time to surgery (from admission) was expressed as days. The occurrence of delirium was ascertained daily by Confusion Assessment Method.


Two hundred ninety-two (31.1%) patients experienced delirium during in-hospital stay. They were older, with a higher degree of comorbidity and functional impairment compared to patients without delirium. In multivariate analysis, surgical delay resulted a significant independent risk factor for delirium (HR 1.11, 95% CI 1.01–1.24), along with age, prefracture functional disability and cognitive impairment. When the analysis was performed accounting for the cognitive categories, surgical delay demonstrated to increase the risk of delirium only in the subcategory of mildly to moderately impaired patients, while no significant effect was demonstrated in patients cognitively healthy or severely impaired.


The study supports the concept that older adults with HF should undergo surgery quickly. Patients with mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment should be primarily considered as the best target for interventions aiming to reduce time to surgery.


Delirium Hip fracture Orthogeriatric Osteoporosis Dementia 


Author contribution

Giulio Pioli: study concept and design, acquisition of subjects and data, analysis and interpretation of data, preparation and critical review of the manuscript. Andrea Giusti: interpretation of data, preparation and critical review of the manuscript. Chiara Bendini, Paolo Pignedoli, Michele Cappa, Enrico Iotti, Maria Alice Ferri, and Eleonora Bergonzini: acquisition of subjects and data, interpretation of data, preparation of the manuscript. Ettore Sabetta: study concept, acquisition of subjects and data, interpretation of data, preparation and critical review of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was undertaken in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Provincial Ethic Committee (2017/DIRSC/0012).

Informed consent

All patients gave written informed consent for the use personal data for research aims.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulio Pioli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chiara Bendini
    • 1
  • Andrea Giusti
    • 2
  • Paolo Pignedoli
    • 3
  • Michele Cappa
    • 3
  • Enrico Iotti
    • 4
  • Maria Alice Ferri
    • 5
  • Eleonora Bergonzini
    • 5
  • Ettore Sabetta
    • 3
  1. 1.Geriatric Unit, Department of Neuromotor Physiology and RehabilitationASMN-IRCCS HospitalReggio EmiliaItaly
  2. 2.Rheumatology Unit, Department of Locomotor SystemASL003ArenzanoItaly
  3. 3.Orthopaedic Unit, Department of Neuromotor Physiology and RehabilitationASMN-IRCCS HospitalReggio EmiliaItaly
  4. 4.Anesthesiology UnitASMN-IRCCS HospitalReggio EmiliaItaly
  5. 5.Geriatric Unit, Department of Biomedic NeurosciencesUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly

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