There were 1,101 patients with inpatient surgeries in Period A, and 1,126 patients in Period B. Mean length of stay (LOS) decreased to 5.28 days during the hospitalist-run model from 9.87 days during the anesthesiologist-run model. LOS reductions were most notable in patients with ASA scores of 3 or higher; LOS reductions were not seen in an internal control of surgical patients who were not evaluated in the preoperative clinic. Inpatient mortality was also reduced in Period B compared with Period A, to 4 cases (0.36%) from 14 cases (1.27%) (P=0.0158). Specific processes that led to improved outcomes for patients in Period B could not be identified. The VA study setting might limit the generalizability of the results.
Bottom line: A hospitalist-run preoperative clinic was associated with decreased LOS and inpatient mortality compared with a traditional anesthesiologist-run clinic.
Citation: Vazirani S, Lankarani-Fard A, Lian LJ, Stelzner M, Asch SM. Preoperative processes and outcomes after implementation of a hospitalist-run preoperative clinic. J Hosp Med. 2012 Sep 7. doi:10.1002/jhm.1968.
Delirium after Cardiac Surgery Associated with Prolonged Cognitive Impairment
Clinical question: Is postoperative delirium associated with decreased cognitive function in the first year after cardiac surgery?
Background: In general populations, delirium has been associated with long-term decline in cognitive ability. Delirium and cognitive dysfunction are both common following cardiac surgery, but the effects of postoperative delirium on the trajectory of cognitive function over time is unclear.
Study design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Two academic medical centers and a Veterans Administration hospital.
Synopsis: Two hundred twenty-five patients aged 60 or older who were scheduled to undergo coronary artery bypass grafting or valve replacement surgery were included. Patients underwent preoperative assessment cognitive function with the use of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Starting on postoperative Day 2, patients underwent daily assessment for delirium. After discharge, cognitive function was reassessed at months one, six, and 12.
Postoperative delirium occurred in 103 patients (46%). Patients with delirium were older, had higher comorbidity scores, and had lower MMSE scores at baseline. Among the overall study population, adjusted MMSE scores dropped 4.6 points from baseline to postoperative Day 2, then were observed to increase by approximately one point per day during postoperative days 3 to 5 with minimal change thereafter. Patients with delirium had greater decrease in cognitive function in the immediate postoperative period compared to patients without delirium (7.7 points vs. 2.1, P<0.001).
Patients without delirium returned to their baseline cognitive ability by one month postoperatively, while patients who had delirium were still making gains up to six months post-operatively, never returning to baseline level of function by one year. Unmeasured confounders and uncertain sensitivity of the MMSE to detect mild cognitive impairment might limit these findings.
Bottom line: Cognitive function decreases in the immediate postoperative period following cardiac surgery. Compared to patients without delirium, patients with delirium experience more dramatic and prolonged cognitive impairment postoperatively, without returning to their preoperative level of cognitive function at one year.
Citation: Saczynski JS, Marcantonio ER, Quach L, et al. Cognitive trajectories after postoperative delirium. New Engl J Med. 2012;367:30-39.
Benefits of Resuming Anticoagulation after GI Bleed Outweigh Risks for Most Patients
Clinical question: In warfarin-treated patients who have experienced gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, what are the patterns of restarting warfarin therapy and the incidence of thrombosis, recurrent GI bleed, and death in the 90 days following index bleed?
Background: In warfarin-treated patients who experience GI bleeding, warfarin is often temporarily held or permanently discontinued, placing patients at increased risk for developing thromboembolism. Little is known about the risks, benefits, and timing of restarting warfarin in this patient population.