Review of Postoperative Delirium in Geriatric Patients Undergoing Hip Surgery

Paul Rizk, William Morris, Philip Oladeji, Michael Huo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Postoperative delirium is a serious complication following hip surgery in elderly patients that can adversely affect outcomes in both hip fracture and arthroplasty surgery. Recently, the incidence of hip fracture in the Medicare population was estimated at approximately 500 000 patients per year, with the majority treated surgically. The annual volume of total hip arthroplasty is nearly 450 000 patients and is projected to increase over the next 15 to 20 years. Subsequently, the incidence of postoperative delirium will rise. The incidence of postoperative delirium after hip surgery in the elderly patients ranges between 4% and 53%, and it is identified as the most common surgical complication of older patients. The most common risk factors include advanced age, hip fracture surgery (vs elective hip surgery), and preoperative delirium/cognitive impairment. Exact pathophysiology has not been fully defined. It is hypothesized that imbalances in cortical neurotransmitters or inflammatory cytokine pathway mechanisms contribute to delirium. Development of postoperative delirium is associated with longer hospital stay, increased medical complications, and poorer short-term functional outcome. Patients who develop postoperative delirium are also at increased risk for cognitive decline beyond the acute phase. Following acute care, postoperative delirium is associated with the need for a higher level of care, an additional cost. Management of postoperative delirium centers on prevention and early recognition. Medical prophylaxis has been demonstrated to have limited utility. Utilization of delirium detection methods contributed to early recognition. The most effective means of prevention involved a multidisciplinary team focused on adequate hydration, optimization of analgesia, reduction in polypharmacy, aggressive physiotherapy, and early recognition of the delirium symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalGeriatric Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Confusion Assessment Method
  • adult reconstructive surgery
  • delirium
  • geriatric medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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