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Postoperative delirium in elderly patients after major abdominal surgery. BJS 2005; 92: 1559-1564.

Published: 17th October 2005

Authors: K. Olin, M. Eriksdotter‐Jönhagen, A. Jansson, M. K. Herrington, M. Kristiansson, J. Permert et al.


The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of postoperative delirium (POD) in elderly patients undergoing major abdominal surgery and to identify factors associated with delirium in this population.


Data were collected prospectively from 51 patients aged 65 years or more. Delirium was diagnosed by the Confusion Assessment Method and from the medical records. The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) was used to identify cognitive impairment.


POD occurred in 26 of 51 patients. Delirium lasted for 1–2 days in 14 patients (short POD group) and 3 days or more in 12 patients (long POD group). The latter patients had significantly greater intraoperative blood loss and intravenous fluid infusion, a higher rate of postoperative complications, a lower MMSE score on postoperative day 4 and a longer hospital stay than patients without POD. Patients in the short POD group were significantly older than those in the long POD group and those who did not develop delirium.


Approximately half of the elderly patients in this study developed POD. Bleeding was found to be an important risk factor for delirium. Copyright © 2005 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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