Protocol for the Prognosticating Delirium Recovery Outcomes Using Wakefulness and Sleep Electroencephalography (P-DROWS-E) study: a prospective observational study of delirium in elderly cardiac surgical patients

BMJ Open. 2020 Dec 13;10(12):e044295. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-044295.


Introduction: Delirium is a potentially preventable disorder characterised by acute disturbances in attention and cognition with fluctuating severity. Postoperative delirium is associated with prolonged intensive care unit and hospital stay, cognitive decline and mortality. The development of biomarkers for tracking delirium could potentially aid in the early detection, mitigation and assessment of response to interventions. Because sleep disruption has been posited as a contributor to the development of this syndrome, expression of abnormal electroencephalography (EEG) patterns during sleep and wakefulness may be informative. Here we hypothesise that abnormal EEG patterns of sleep and wakefulness may serve as predictive and diagnostic markers for postoperative delirium. Such abnormal EEG patterns would mechanistically link disrupted thalamocortical connectivity to this important clinical syndrome.

Methods and analysis: P-DROWS-E (Prognosticating Delirium Recovery Outcomes Using Wakefulness and Sleep Electroencephalography) is a 220-patient prospective observational study. Patient eligibility criteria include those who are English-speaking, age 60 years or older and undergoing elective cardiac surgery requiring cardiopulmonary bypass. EEG acquisition will occur 1-2 nights preoperatively, intraoperatively, and up to 7 days postoperatively. Concurrent with EEG recordings, two times per day postoperative Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) evaluations will quantify the presence and severity of delirium. EEG slow wave activity, sleep spindle density and peak frequency of the posterior dominant rhythm will be quantified. Linear mixed-effects models will be used to evaluate the relationships between delirium severity/duration and EEG measures as a function of time.

Ethics and dissemination: P-DROWS-E is approved by the ethics board at Washington University in St. Louis. Recruitment began in October 2018. Dissemination plans include presentations at scientific conferences, scientific publications and mass media.

Trial registration number: NCT03291626.

Keywords: adult intensive & critical care; cardiothoracic surgery; delirium & cognitive disorders; neurophysiology; old age psychiatry; sleep medicine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures*
  • Delirium* / diagnosis
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Sleep
  • Wakefulness
  • Washington

Associated data