Managing common neurological complications following cardiac surgery

Nurs Stand. 2023 Dec 11;38(12):43-50. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e12034. Epub 2023 Oct 23.


Despite recent technological advances in the field of surgery, neurological complications remain a significant post-operative issue. Two of the most common post-operative complications are delirium and post-operative cognitive decline, which occur frequently after cardiac surgery. This article provides an overview of delirium and post-operative cognitive decline, including risk factors, signs and symptoms, and diagnosis. The author also considers the nurse's role in managing patients who are at risk of, or have experienced, delirium or post-operative cognitive decline after cardiac surgery.

Keywords: cardiology; cardiorespiratory; central nervous system; clinical; delirium; heart diseases; heart failure; mental health; neurology; post-operative care; surgical; theatre nurses.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Delirium* / diagnosis
  • Delirium* / etiology
  • Delirium* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Risk Factors