Patients treated for hospital delirium will increase due to COVID-19

An estimated 70–80% of ventilated patients will experience ICU delirium, which causes patients to enter a confused state and can lead to long-term cognitive impairments and memory deficits. GlobalData, therefore, expects to see an increase in the administration of pharmacological treatments for ICU delirium as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData comments: “About 5% of COVID-19 patients need ICU hospitalization. Patients who are ventilated spend a longer time in the ICU, remaining ventilated for up to two weeks. This puts these patients at an increased risk of developing post-intensive care syndromes, which cause physical, cognitive and mental health problems even after leaving the ICU. ICU delirium is one of these issues and can cause patients to have even longer hospital stays and lower six-month survival. These cognitive impairments can persist for months to years after being discharged from the hospital.

“ICU delirium is exacerbated by several aspects. COVID-19 patients are isolated and have less social and physical interaction. The virus may infiltrate and damage the brain or cause inflammation, limiting blood flow to the brain. In addition, ventilated patients are often sedated to suppress coughing or to help patients tolerate a breathing tube. However, these drugs can increase the risk of delirium, especially benzodiazepines, which could be more commonly used as other sedatives become in short supply.

“One of the most frequently used antipsychotic drugs used to treat ICU delirium patients is haloperidol, which has shown efficacy in reducing mortality, preventing delirium, and improving high-risk patient outcomes. Other second-generation atypical antipsychotics include risperidone, a pyridopyrimidines derivative that acts as psychotropic agent and is also used as a treatment for schizophrenia.”

GlobalData has previously forecast that the global delirium drug treatment market at $335m for 2020. This estimate was based on past years’ annual statements and sourced broker reports prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the increased incidence of COVID-19 ICU admissions and resulting delirium rates, this estimate will increase.

More Media