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September 27, 1913


JAMA. 1913;61(13_part_2):1174-1177. doi:10.1001/jama.1913.04350140090019

The first description of postoperative psychoses dates back to the sixteenth century when Para called attention to the occurrence of mental symptoms after operations. In 1819 Depuytren described a "delirium nervosum" which occurred in the first three days after an operation, and in 1842 psychoses after eye operations were reported by Sherzog. Sichel1 in 1863 described a peculiar delirium which he had observed seven or eight times in the wake of cataract operations. All the patients were over 60 years old. He attributed it to sealing the lids and thought the mental effect similar to homesickness. Arlt2 wrote in 1874:

The second eye isncovered before the fourth day only when the patient becomes restless because of darkness. In old patients, much run down, timid and nervous, mental disturbances may occur during the first few days after the operation.

I have been unable to find a classification from the standpoint of the psychiatrist. Evidently no single form of mental disturbance is characteristic of postoperative delirium. Hurd3 would limit the cases to those clearly the