King's College London

Research portal

Is anaemia associated with cognitive impairment and delirium among older acute surgical patients?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Phyo Kyaw Myint, Stephanie Owen, Kathryn McCarthy, Lyndsay Pearce, Susan J. Moug, Michael J. Stechman, Jonathan Hewitt, Ben Carter

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeriatrics & gerontology international
Early online date1 Mar 2018
Accepted/In press24 Jan 2018
E-pub ahead of print1 Mar 2018


King's Authors


Aim: The determinants of cognitive impairment and delirium during acute illness are poorly understood despite being common among older people. Anaemia is common in older people, and there is on-going debate regarding the association between anaemia, cognitive impairment and delirium, primarily in non-surgical patients. Methods: Using data from the Older Persons Surgical Outcomes Collaboration (OPSOC)2013 and 2014 audit cycles, we examined the association between anaemia and cognitive outcomes in patients, ≥65 years, admitted to five UK acute surgical units. On admission, the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) was performed to detect delirium. Cognition was assessed using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and two levels of impairment were defined as MoCA<26 and <20. Logistic regression models were constructed to examine these associations in all, and individuals ≥75 years only. Results: A total of 653 patients, median age of 76.5 (Interquartile range 73.0-80.0) years, 53% women, were included. Statistically significant associations were found between anaemia and age; polypharmacy; hyperglycaemia; and hypoalbuminaemia. There was no association between anaemia and cognitive impairment or delirium. The adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of cognitive impairment were aOR 0.95(95% CI 0.56-1.61) and 1.00(0.61-1.64) for MoCA <26 and <20, respectively. The aOR of delirium was 1.00(0.48-2.10) in patients with anaemia compared to those without. Similar results were observed for ≥75 age group. Conclusion: There was no association between anaemia and cognitive outcomes among older people in this acute surgical setting. Considering the retrospective nature of the study and possible lack of power, findings should be taken with caution.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454