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Melatonin May Not Help Prevent Delirium after Heart Surgery

Delirium is observed in approximately 15% of hospitalised older adults, and it is more common in the critically ill and in those undergoing major surgery, such as heart surgery. Studies have found that blood levels of melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone, decrease following surgery and are lower in surgical patients who develop delirium. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that melatonin treatment did not influence the risk of developing delirium following heart surgery, however.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 12:01 am EDT
"While the negative findings are disappointing, it is probably not that unexpected given the complex nature of delirium"

Delirium is observed in approximately 15% of hospitalised older adults, and it is more common in the critically ill and in those undergoing major surgery, such as heart surgery. Studies have found that blood levels of melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone, decrease following surgery and are lower in surgical patients who develop delirium. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that melatonin treatment did not influence the risk of developing delirium following heart surgery, however.

The study included 210 adults aged 50 years or older who were due to undergo major heart surgery. Participants were randomly assigned to seven days of treatment with melatonin or placebo, starting two days prior to the surgery. Patients were then assessed for the development of delirium within seven days of surgery.

A similar proportion of participants experienced severe episodes of delirium in the melatonin and placebo groups.

“While the negative findings are disappointing, it is probably not that unexpected given the complex nature of delirium,” said lead author Andrew Ford, MBChB, FRANZCP, PhD, of the University of Western Australia.

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.16162

About Journal 

Included in more than 15,000 library collections around the world, JAGS is the go-to journal for clinical aging research. We provide a diverse, interprofessional community of healthcare professionals with the latest insights on geriatrics education, clinical practice, and public policy—all supporting the high-quality, person-centered care essential to our well-being as we age

Our rigorous peer-review process ensures that we bring healthcare professionals, older adults, and caregivers research with the potential to impact public policy and geriatrics care today—and tomorrow. Since the publication of our first edition in 1953, JAGS has remained one of the oldest and most impactful journals dedicated exclusively to gerontology and geriatrics.

About Wiley

Wiley drives the world forward with research and education. Through publishing, platforms and services, we help students, researchers, universities, and corporations to achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to all of our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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newsroom@wiley.com

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