Delirium after cardiac surgery. Incidence, phenotypes, predisposing and precipitating risk factors, and effects

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In cardiac surgical patients little is known about different phenotypes of delirium and how the symptoms fluctuate over time.


Evaluate risk factors, incidence, fluctuations, phenotypic characteristics and impact on patients' outcomes of delirium.


Prospective longitudinal study. In postoperative intensive care unit 199 patient were assessed three-times a day through an adapted versions of the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist.


Delirium and subsyndromal delirium incidence were 30.7% and 31.2%, respectively. Delirium manifested mostly in the hypoactive form and showed a fluctuating trend for several days.


Atrial fibrillation, benzodiazepine/opioids dosages, hearing impairment, extracorporeal circulation length, SAPS-II and mean arterial pressure were independent predictors for delirium. Delirium was a statistically significant predictor of chemical/physical restraint use and hospital length of stay.


Given the fluctuating and phenotypic characteristics, delirium screening should be a systematic/intentional activity. Multidisciplinary prevention strategies should be implemented to identify and treat the modifiable risk factors.

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