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Authors

  1. Lisann-Goldman, Lauren R. MD
  2. Pagnini, Francesco PsyD, PhD
  3. Deiner, Stacie G. MD
  4. Langer, Ellen J. PhD

Abstract

Postoperative delirium (incidence estimated up to 82%) can be ameliorated with nonpharmacologic methods. Mindfulness has not yet been incorporated into these methods, although mindfulness has been demonstrated to help patients adapt to illness and hospitalization. To reduce postoperative delirium incidence and increase patient satisfaction, this study employs a program of thought exercises based on Langerian mindfulness. Preoperatively, cardiac surgical patients listened to a mindfulness or informational audio; mindfulness subjects were also guided by the principal investigator through mindfulness exercises. Postoperatively, mindfulness subjects were visited twice daily for mindfulness exercises. For all patients, delirium screening was performed twice daily. Before discharge, affective status and satisfaction with hospital stay were assessed. No patients who completed the study screened positive for delirium. Trends include (1) lower (improved) median anxiety and depression scores postoperatively when considering both study groups together; (2) both groups rated the hospital more favorably on global satisfaction measures; (3) both groups shared generally positive comments regarding the audio files (qualitative data). Audio files and mindfulness exercises are associated with patient satisfaction among cardiothoracic surgery patients. The absence of delirium precludes determination of the effectiveness of the intervention in reducing delirium incidence.