The Particulars: Postoperative delirium (PD) occurs in about 20% of elderly patients, according to previous research. However, the mechanisms of PD have not been well defined. A better understanding of these mechanisms could be a first step toward developing PD prevention strategies.

Data Breakdown: Patients aged 68 or older who had non-cardiac surgery underwent daily cognitive testing for a study. Researchers found that several factors were highly predictive of PD, including higher peak stress response levels at 2 hours after surgery, diabetes, and surgery length.

Take Home Pearls: Elderly surgical patients who have diabetes, undergo longer surgery, or respond poorly to stress after their operation appear to be at greater risk of developing PD than others. Knowledge of these predictors may help with the development of methods to prevent PD.