Predisposing and Precipitating Factors Associated With Postoperative Delirium in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center: A Pilot Retrospective Analysis

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. Online ahead of print

These findings in VA patients generally are similar to those observed in the civilian population despite the differences between these cohorts.

Objective

Patients treated at Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers are in poorer health, experience more medical and psychiatric conditions, and make greater use of medical resources than do patients in the general population. In the present pilot study, the authors examined their recent experience at a VA medical center to determine the incidence and risk factors associated with the development of postoperative delirium in VA patients after cardiac surgery and hypothesized that the risk factors for postoperative delirium after cardiac surgery are different between VA and non-VA patients.

Design

Retrospective cohort study.

Setting

Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Participants

The study comprised 250 consecutive patients undergoing cardiac surgery from July 2014 to March 2016.

Interventions

None.

Measurements and Main Results

Demographics, coexisting diseases, and medications were obtained from the VA electronic medical record. The European System for Cardiac Operative Evaluation II mortality risk index was calculated for each patient. The type and duration of the procedure and the duration of bypass were recorded. Intraoperative crystalloid, colloid, cell saver, and blood product volumes were compiled. Progress notes and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification codes were searched for documentation of postoperative delirium. Thirty-eight patients (15.2%) developed postoperative delirium. Stepwise logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the European System for Cardiac Operative Evaluation II mortality risk index (odds ratio [OR] 1.036, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.003-1.070]; p = 0.0344), congestive heart failure (OR 2.223 [95% CI 1.046-4.722]; p = 0.0377), pre-existing cognitive impairment (OR 5.147 [95% CI 1.994-13.28]; p = 0.0007), and the presence of a neuropsychiatric disorder (OR 2.015 [95% CI 1.004-4.043]; p = 0.0487) were predisposing factors associated with higher odds of postoperative delirium. The duration of surgery; transfusion of blood products (including packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, and platelets); the durations of mechanical ventilation and conscious sedation (using either propofol or dexmedetomidine); and the length of intensive care unit stay were precipitating factors associated with higher odds of postoperative delirium.

Conclusions

The results demonstrate that congestive heart failure, pre-existing cognitive impairment, and the presence of a neuropsychiatric disorder are predisposing risk factors for postoperative delirium after cardiac surgery in VA patients, whereas the duration of surgery, transfusion of blood products, durations of mechanical ventilation and conscious sedation, and length of intensive care unit stay are precipitating factors for postoperative delirium. These findings in VA patients generally are similar to those observed in the civilian population despite the differences between these cohorts.