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Scand Cardiovasc J. 2002 Aug;36(4):250-5.

Delirium after coronary bypass surgery evaluated by the organic brain syndrome protocol.

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  • 1Department of Surgery and Perioperative Science, Cardiothoracic Division, Umeå University Hospital, Umeå Sweden.



The aim was to evaluate symptoms of delirium from a psychogeriatric perspective occurring postoperative to coronary bypass surgery.


Patients, > or = 60 years, scheduled for coronary bypass surgery (n = 52) were enrolled in a prospective descriptive study. The patients were evaluated before and several times after surgery by the Organic Brain Syndrome scale, and delirium was diagnosed according to psychiatric codes.


Of the 52 patients, 23% presented delirium. These patients were older than the control group, 73.5 +/- 4.2 and 69.3 +/- 5.9 years, respectively (mean +/- SD, p < 0.01), and had more frequently a history of previous stroke (p < 0.05). Emotional delirium was seen in 83%, hyperactive delirium in about 40%, and 25% were classified to have a psychotic delirium. A major finding was a 58% frequency of hallucinations and illusions among patients with delirium, and a similar rate among those without delirium.


Delirium is common after cardiac surgery in particular in older patients, but is often under-diagnosed. Hallucinations were common in both delirious and non-delirious patients.

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