Postoperative delirium in total knee and hip arthroplasty patients: a study of perioperative modifiable risk factors

S. M. Weinstein, L. Poultsides, L. R. Baaklini, E. E. Mörwald, C. Cozowicz, J. N. Saleh, M. B. Arrington, J. Poeran, N. Zubizarreta, S. G. Memtsoudis

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83 Scopus citations


Background: Postoperative delirium continues to pose major clinical difficulties. While unmodifiable factors (e.g. age and comorbidity burden) are commonly studied risk factors for delirium, the role of modifiable factors, such as anaesthesia type and commonly used perioperative medications, remains understudied. This study aims to evaluate the role of modifiable factors for delirium after hip and knee arthroplasties. Methods: We performed a retrospective study of 41 766 patients who underwent hip or knee arthroplasties between 2005 and 2014 at a single institution. Data were collected as part of routine patient care. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed associations between anaesthesia type and commonly used perioperative medications (opioids, benzodiazepines, and ketamine) and postoperative delirium. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) are reported. Various sensitivity analyses are also considered, including multiple imputation methods to address missing data. Results: Postoperative delirium occurred in 2.21% (n=922) of all patients. While patients who received neuraxial anaesthesia were at lower risk for postoperative delirium (compared with general anaesthesia; epidural OR 0.59 CI 0.38–0.93; spinal OR 0.55 CI 0.37–0.83; combined spinal/epidural OR 0.56 CI 0.40–0.80), those given intraoperative ketamine (OR 1.27 CI 1.01–1.59), opioids (OR 1.25 CI 1.09–1.44), postoperative benzodiazepines (OR 2.47 CI 2.04–2.97), and ketamine infusion (OR 10.59 CI 5.26–19.91) were at a higher risk. Conclusions: In this cohort of hip and knee arthroplasty patients, anaesthesia type and perioperative medications were associated with increased odds for postoperative delirium. Our results support the notion that modifiable risk factors may exacerbate or attenuate risk for postoperative delirium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1008
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • anesthesia
  • delirium
  • total joint replacement


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