Psychiatric disturbances due to cardiopulmonary bypass, especially postoperative delirium syndrome, are among the immediate complications of open-heart surgery. In a series of 32 male and 18 female patients the prevalence of such disorders was investigated and search was made for possible risk factors for their occurrence. Psychiatric, neurologic and electroencephalographic evaluation was made pre- and postoperatively, in addition to haemodynamic, echocardiographic, angiographic and regional cerebral blood flow studies. Nine of the 50 patients had significantly reduced perfusion of certain cerebral lobes in single photon emission computed tomography, and in six of them the psychiatric tests indicated postoperative delirium; three of these six also had moderate electroencephalographic changes. The cerebral hypoperfusion persisted on day 15 in four patients, while psychiatric tests were negative. The study showed possible risk factors to be patient age, long aortic cross-clamp time, high-dose inotropic support and excessive transfusion of blood or blood products.