Older patients with preoperative cognitive impairment are at risk for increased postoperative complications after noncardiac surgery. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determine the association between preoperative cognitive impairment and dementia and postoperative outcomes in older surgical patients after cardiac surgery.
Eight electronic databases were searched from inception to January 4, 2022. Inclusion criteria were cardiac surgery patients ≥60 years of age; preoperative cognitive impairment; ≥1 postoperative complication reported; comparator group with no preoperative cognitive impairment; and written in English. Using a random-effects model, we calculated effect sizes as odds ratio (OR) and standardized mean differences (SMDs). Risk of random error was assessed by applying trial sequential analysis.
Sixteen studies (62,179 patients) were included. Preoperative cognitive impairment was associated with increased risk of delirium in older patients after cardiac surgery (70.0% vs 20.5%; OR, 8.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.25–16.38; I2, 0%; P < .00001). Cognitive impairment was associated with increased hospital length of stay (LOS; SMD, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.20–0.51; I2, 22%; P < .00001) and intensive care unit (ICU) LOS (SMD, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.09–0.68; I2, 70%; P = .01). No significant association was seen for 30-day mortality (1.7% vs 1.1%; OR, 2.58; 95% CI, 0.64–10.44; I2, 55%; P = .18).
In older patients undergoing cardiac surgery, cognitive impairment was associated with an 8-fold increased risk of delirium, a 5% increase in absolute risk of major postoperative bleeding, and an increase in hospital and ICU LOS by approximately 0.4 days. Further research on the feasibility of implementing routine neurocognitive testing is warranted.