OBJECTIVES: Post-cardiotomy delirium is common and associated with increased morbidity and mortality. No gold standard exists for detecting delirium, and evidence to support the choice of treatment is needed. Haloperidol is widely used for treating delirium, but indication, doses and therapeutic targets vary. Moreover, doubt has been raised regarding overall efficacy. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of a combination of early detection and standardized treatment with haloperidol on post-cardiotomy delirium, with the hypothesis that the proportion of delirium- and coma-free days could be increased. Length of stay (LOS), complications and 180-day mortality are reported. METHODS: Prospective interventional cohort study. One hundred and seventeen adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery were included before introduction of a screening and treatment protocol with haloperidol for delirium, and 123 patients were included after. Nurses screened patients using validated tools (the Delirium Observation Screening (DOS) scale and confusion assessment method for the intensive care unit (CAM-ICU)). In case of delirium, a checklist to eliminate precipitating/ inducing factors and a protocol for standardized dosing with haloperidol was applied. Group comparison was done using non-parametric tests and analysis of fractions, and associations between delirium and predefined covariates were analysed with logistic regression. RESULTS: Incidence of delirium after cardiac surgery was 21 (14-29) and 22 (15-30) %, onset was on postoperative day 1 (1-4) and 1 (1-3), duration was 1 (1-4) day and 3 (1-5) days, respectively, with no significant difference (Period 1 vs 2, all values are given as the median and 95% confidence interval). The proportion of delirium- and coma-free days was 67 (61-73) and 65 (60-70) %, respectively (ns). There was no difference in LOS or complication rate. Delirium was associated to increasing age, increased length of stay and complications. CONCLUSIONS: We observed no increase in the proportion of delirium- and coma-free days after introduction of a combination of early detection and standardized treatment with haloperidol on post-cardiotomy delirium. Most patients were not severely affected, and the few who were, proved difficult to treat, indicating that a simple treatment protocol with haloperidol was ineffective.
Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, 2014, Vol 18, Issue 4, p. 438-445
Adult; Aged; Antipsychotic Agents; Cardiac Surgical Procedures; Checklist; Chi-Square Distribution; Delirium; Denmark; Early Diagnosis; Female; Haloperidol; Humans; Length of Stay; Logistic Models; Male; Middle Aged; Predictive Value of Tests; Prospective Studies; Risk Assessment; Risk Factors; Time Factors; Treatment Outcome; Young Adult; Clinical Trial; Journal Article