Research offers explanation for why drug reduces postoperative confusion

June 2018
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The post-op brain, Science Magazine

June 2017
Read article summary. Please contact us for a full copy of the article.


Waking up to the complexities of anesthesia, The Globe and Mail

April 2017
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Brain health by the numbers

View a plain-text version of the infographic »


  • Disturbance in consciousness with reduced ability to focus, sustain, or shift attention
  • Change in memory, language or orientation, or development ofa perceptual disturbance not explained bya pre-existing, established, or evolving dementia
  • Disturbance develops over a short period of time (usually hours to days) and tends to fluctuate during the day
  • Caused by direct physiological consequences of a general medical condition

Delirium by the numbers:

  • 12-51% post-operative
  • 19-82% intensive care
  • 20-56% nursing home
  • 47% palliative care
  • 27% stroke units
  • 8-17% emergency room


Delirium increases:

  • odds of dying in hospital by 2-4X
  • odds of dying within 6 months by 2.5-5X
  • length of hospital stay by 2X
  • risk of being re-admitted to the hospital by 2X
  • rates of cognitive decline and dementia up to 41X

Delirium is expensive:

  • it costs one Toronto hospital an estimated $17 million dollars a year from 'increased length of stay' alone

Delirium can be prevented:

  • 30-40% of delirium cases can be prevented

Using the CHASM care plan for the prevention and management of delirium, a series of interventions in the following areas:

C - Cognition and perception

H - Hydration

A - Agitation

S - Sleep-wake cycle

M - Mobility

Brought to you by the:

Perioperative Brain Health Centre at Sunnybrook

Contact Us

For all general inquiries, please contact us directly. For media inquiries, please contact Sunnybrook's communications & stakeholder relations team.

Phone: 416-480-6100 ext: 89607
Fax: 416-480-6039

Mailing address:
2075 Bayview Ave, Room M3-200
Toronto, Ontario, M4N 3M5
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» Learn about Sunnybrook's department of anesthesia