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Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium: A Valid, Rapid, Observational Tool for Screening Delirium in the PICU*

Traube, Chani MD1; Silver, Gabrielle MD2; Kearney, Julia MD3; Patel, Anita MD4; Atkinson, Thomas M. PhD5; Yoon, Margaret J. MD2; Halpert, Sari MD6; Augenstein, Julie MD4; Sickles, Laura E. BA7; Li, Chunshan MA8; Greenwald, Bruce MD1

doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3182a66b76
Pediatric Critical Care

Objective: To determine validity and reliability of the Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium, a rapid observational screening tool.

Design: Double-blinded assessments were performed with the Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium completed by nursing staff in the PICU. These ratings were compared with an assessment by consultation liaison child psychiatrist using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV criteria as the “gold standard” for diagnosis of delirium. An initial series of duplicate Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium assessments were performed in blinded fashion to assess interrater reliability. Nurses recorded the time required to complete the Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium screen.

Setting: Twenty-bed general PICU in a major urban academic medical center over a 10-week period, March–May 2012.

Patients: One hundred eleven patients stratified over ages ranging from 0 to 21 years and across developmental levels.

Intervention: Two hundred forty-eight paired assessments completed.

Measurements and Main Results: The Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium had an overall sensitivity of 94.1% (95% CI, 83.8–98.8%) and specificity of 79.2% (95% CI, 73.5–84.9%). Overall Cronbach’s α of 0.90 was observed, with a range of 0.87–0.90 for each of the eight items, indicating good internal consistency. A scoring cut point of 9 demonstrated good interrater reliability of the Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium when comparing results of the screen between nurses (overall κ = 0.94; item range κ = 0.68–0.78). In patients without significant developmental delay, sensitivity was 92.0% (95% CI, 85.7–98.3%) and specificity was 86.5% (95% CI, 75.4–97.6%). In developmentally delayed children, the Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium showed decreased specificity of 51.2% (95% CI, 24.7–77.8%) but sensitivity remained high at 96.2% (95% CI, 86.5–100%). The Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium takes less than 2 minutes to complete.

Conclusions: With an overall prevalence rate of 20.6% in our study population, delirium is a common problem in pediatric critical care. The Cornell Assessment of Pediatric Delirium is a valid, rapid, observational nursing screen that is urgently needed for the detection of delirium in PICU settings.

1Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.

2Department of Child Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.

3Department of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

4Department of Pediatrics, NY Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY.

5Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

6Department of Psychiatry, NY Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY.

7Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA.

8Department of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.

* See also p. 751.

This work was performed at Weill Cornell Medical College/NY Presbyterian Hospital.

Drs. Traube and Silver contributed equally to this article.

Drs. Traube and Greenwald received support for travel from Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Greenwald received support for travel from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Greenwald consults for various law firms. The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

For information regarding this article, E-mail: chr9008@med.cornell.edu

© 2014 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins