Vascular surgery is considered a risk factor for the development of postoperative delirium (POD). In this systematic review we provide a report on the incidence and risk-factors of POD after vascular surgery.
A systematic literature search was conducted using Pubmed with the MeSH terms and key words “delirium” or “confusion”, “vascular surgery procedures” and “risk factors or “risk assessment”. Studies were selected for review after meeting the following inclusion criteria: vascular surgery, postoperative delirium diagnosed using validated screening tools, and DSM-derived criteria to assess delirium. A meta-analysis was performed for each endpoint if at least two studies could be combined.
Sixteen articles met the abovementioned criteria. The incidence of delirium ranged from 5% to 39%. Various preoperative risk factors were identified i.e. age (Random MD 3.96, CI 2.57-5.35), hypertension (Fixed OR 1.30, CI 1.05-1.59), diabetes mellitus (Random OR 2.15, CI 1.30-3.56), hearing impairment (Fixed OR 1.89, CI 1.28-2.81), history of cerebrovascular incident or transient ischemic attack (Fixed OR 2.20, CI 1.68-2.88), renal failure (Fixed OR 1.61, CI 1.19-2.17), and pre-operative low haemoglobin level (fixed MD -0.76, CI -1.04- -0.47). Intra-operative risk factors were duration of surgery (Random MD 15.68; CI 2.79-28.57), open aneurysm repair (Fixed OR 4.99, CI 3.10-8.03), aortic cross clamping time (fixed MD 7.99, CI 2.56-13.42), amputation surgery (random OR 3.77, CI 2.13-6.67), emergency surgery (Fixed OR 4.84, CI 2.81-8.32) and total blood loss (Random MD 496.5, CI 84.51-908.44) and need for blood transfusion (Random OR 3.72, CI 1.57-8.80). Regional anesthesia on the other hand, had a protective effect. Delirium was associated with longer ICU and hospital length of stay, and more frequent discharge to a care facility.
Postoperative delirium after vascular surgery is a frequent complication and effect-size pooling supports the concept that delirium is a heterogeneous disorder. The risk factors identified can be used to either design a validated risk factor model or individual preventive strategies for high-risk patients.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.