Dexmedetomidine and the reduction of postoperative delirium after cardiac surgery

José R. Maldonado, Ashley Wysong, Pieter J.A. Van Der Starre, Thaddeus Block, Craig Miller, Bruce A. Reitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

280 Scopus citations


Background: Delirium is a neurobehavioral syndrome caused by the transient disruption of normal neuronal activity secondary to systemic disturbances. Objective: The authors investigated the effects of postoperative sedation on the development of delirium in patients undergoing cardiac-valve procedures. Methods: Patients underwent elective cardiac surgery with a standardized intraoperative anesthesia protocol, followed by random assignment to one of three postoperative sedation protocols: dexmedetomidine, propofol, or midazolam. Results: The incidence of delirium for patients receiving dexmedetomidine was 3%, for those receiving propofol was 50%, and for patients receiving midazolam, 50%. Patients who developed postoperative delirium experienced significantly longer intensive-care stays and longer total hospitalization. Conclusion: The findings of this open-label, randomized clinical investigation suggest that postoperative sedation with dexmedetomidine was associated with significantly lower rates of postoperative delirium and lower care costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-217
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Maldonado, J. R., Wysong, A., Van Der Starre, P. J. A., Block, T., Miller, C., & Reitz, B. A. (2009). Dexmedetomidine and the reduction of postoperative delirium after cardiac surgery. Psychosomatics, 50(3), 206-217.