Delirium Among Adults Undergoing Solid Organ Transplantation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: To summarize the research on postoperative delirium among patients undergoing solid organ transplantation in efforts to improve recognition, evaluation, and management, as well as highlight areas for future research. Recent Findings: Delirium is a common complication in patients with organ failure before and after undergoing solid organ transplant (range: 4.7–47%). However, it is frequently unrecognized and underdiagnosed—even among those closely monitored after major surgery—given that its manifestation is often variable and inconsistent. Delirium has multifactorial etiologies comprising of a complex mix of predisposing recipient, donor, and transplant factors, as well as intraoperative and perioperative factors. Evidence suggests that delirium risk increases with presence of a greater number of such risk factors and can lead to adverse outcomes such as increased hospital length of stay, time in the ICU, time on mechanical ventilators, graft dysfunction, graft loss, and mortality. Though no trials have been conducted among transplant populations specifically, delirium has been shown to be preventable among hospitalized older adults generally. Multicomponent, primary prevention strategies designed to target multiple risk factors of delirium, such as cognitive impairment, sleep deprivation, immobility, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and dehydration, have been identified as most effective. Whether these approaches translate to improvements in quality of life and long-term health outcomes among patients with organ failure before and after transplantation is yet to be determined. Summary: Delirium is an important, common, yet potentially preventable complication among patients with organ failure. Future studies are needed to test the efficacy of multicomponent, primary prevention strategies on long-term health outcomes among these vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Transplantation Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Delirium
  • Interventions
  • Measures
  • Outcomes
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Nephrology
  • Immunology


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