June 1974

Usefulness of Psychiatric Intervention in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of psychiatry and surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Dr. Surman is currently a Lieutenant Commander in the US Naval Reserve, Pearl Harbor Naval Station, Hawaii, and Dr. Behrendt is with the Department of Thoracic Surgery, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(6):830-835. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760120082012

Twenty patients undergoing cardiac surgery were seen one or more times by a psychiatrist who performed two functions. In a supportive fashion he cleared up any misconceptions the patient had about the forthcoming surgery and he taught him a simple autohypnotic technique.

Twenty controls, matched for relevant variables, received routine preoperative care. Contrary to the report of others, a single visit by the psychiatrist did not influence the incidence of postoperative delirium, anxiety, depression, pain, or medication requirements. However, there was a trend for patients receiving a greater number of preoperative visits to have a lower incidence of detected delirium.

Age was the only factor in this study that differed significantly between delirious and nondelirious patients.