Delirium after Cardiac Surgery-A Narrative Review

Brain Sci. 2023 Dec 7;13(12):1682. doi: 10.3390/brainsci13121682.


Postoperative delirium (POD) after cardiac surgery is a well-known phenomenon which carries a higher risk of morbidity and mortality. Multiple patient-specific risk factors and pathophysiologic mechanisms have been identified and therapies have been proposed to mitigate risk of delirium development postoperatively. Notably, cardiac surgery frequently involves the use of an intraoperative cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), which may contribute to the mechanisms responsible for POD. Despite our greater understanding of these causative factors, a substantial reduction in the incidence of POD remains high among cardiac surgical patients. Multiple therapeutic interventions have been implemented intraoperatively and postoperatively, many with conflicting results. This review article will highlight the incidence and impact of POD in cardiac surgical patients. It will describe some of the primary risk factors associated with POD, as well as anesthetic management and therapies postoperatively that may help to reduce delirium.

Keywords: cardiac surgery; cardiopulmonary bypass; postoperative delirium.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.