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Volume 5, Pages 874-883
Research Article

The Occurrence of Acute Postoperative Confusion in Patients after Cardiac Surgery

1School of Nursing, Klinikum Nürnberg, Heimerichstrasse 58, 90419 Nürnberg, Germany
2Institute for Nursing Sciences, Universität Witten/Herdecke, Germany
3School of Nursing, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, USA
4Anesthesiology Nursing, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, USA
5Universität Witten/Herdecke, Germany
6Institute for Nursing Sciences, Universität Witten/Herrdecke, Germany

Received 1 August 2005; Revised 18 October 2005; Accepted 19 October 2005

Copyright © 2005 Jürgen Osterbrink et al.


This study quantified the occurrence of acute confusion in cardiac surgery patients at three German hospitals. A total of 867 patients, 22–91 years old, were examined each nursing shift postoperatively for 5 days for the presence of acute confusion using a modified version of the Glasgow Coma Scale and Confusion Rating Scale. The night shifts and the third postoperative day showed the most frequent periods of occurrence. Confusional state was noted in patients ranging from 10.5% for patients aged <70, to 40.7% for patients >80 years of age. Those found at increased risk were patients of increasing age and coexisting disease. Targeted nursing interventions for patients at increased risk of acute confusion may decrease this complication.