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J Psychosom Res. 2000 Jun;48(6):537-46.

Mood state as a predictor of neuropsychological deficits following cardiac surgery.

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  • 1Cardiac Surgical Research Group, Department of Medicine, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University of South Australia, Bedford Park, South Australia 5042, Adelaide, Australia.



mood disorders and neuropsychological deficits are both commonly reported occurrences after cardiac surgery. We examined the relationship between mood state and postoperative cognitive deficits in this population.


assessments of neuropsychological functions and mood state (depression, anxiety, stress scales; DASS) were performed preoperatively and postoperatively on 147 patients undergoing cardiac surgery.


the incidence of preoperative depression, anxiety, and stress symptomatology was 16%, 27%, and 16%, respectively. The incidence of postoperative anxiety symptomatology significantly increased to 45% (p<0.001), while the incidence of depression and stress symptomatology remained stable (19% and 15%, respectively; ns). Changes in mood state did not influence changes in neuropsychological performance. Preoperative mood was a strong predictor of postoperative mood, and was related to postoperative deficits on measures of attention and memory.


an assessment of preoperative mood is critical in identifying patients at risk of postoperative mood disorders and neuropsychological deficits. Measures assessing somatic manifestations of anxiety may not be suitable for a surgical population.

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