J Clin Anesth. 2022 Sep 6; 83 110957
STUDY OBJECTIVE Early post-operative delirium is a common perioperative complication in the post anesthesia care unit. To date it is unknown if a specific anesthetic regime can affect the incidence of delirium after surgery. Our objective was to examine the effect of volatile anesthetics on post-operative delirium.
DESIGN Single Center Observational Study.
SETTING Post Anesthesia Care Units at a German tertiary medical center.
PATIENTS 30,075 patients receiving general anesthesia for surgery.
MEASUREMENTS Delirium was assessed with the Nursing Delirium Screening Scale at the end of the recovery period. Subgroup-specific effects of volatile anesthetics on post-operative delirium were estimated using generalized-linear-model trees with inverse probability of treatment weighting. We further assessed the age-specific effect of volatiles using logistic regression models.
MAIN RESULTS Out of 30,075 records, 956 patients (3.2%) developed delirium in the post anesthesia care unit. On average, patients who developed delirium were older than patients without delirium. We found volatile anesthetics to increase the risk (Odds exp. (B) for delirium in the elderly 1.8-fold compared to total intravenous anesthesia. Odds increases with unplanned surgery 3.0-fold. In the very old (87 years or older), the increase in delirium is 6.2-fold. This result was confirmed with internal validation and in a logistic regression model.
CONCLUSIONS Our exploratory study indicates that early postoperative delirium is associated with the use of volatile anesthetics especially in the sub-cohort of patients aged 75 years and above. Further studies should include both volatile and intravenous anesthetics to find the ideal anesthetic in elderly patients.