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Desflurane is risk factor for postoperative delirium in older patients’ independent from intraoperative burst suppression duration

Koch, Susanne; Blankertz, Benjamin; Windmann, Victoria; Spies, Claudia; Radtke, Finn M.; Röhr, Vera

Background: Postoperative Delirium (POD) is the most frequent neurocognitive complication after general anesthesia in older patients. The development of POD is associated with prolonged periods of burst suppression activity in the intraoperative electroencephalogram (EEG). The risk to present burst suppression activity depends not only on the age of the patient but is also more frequent during propofol anesthesia as compared to inhalative anesthesia. The aim of our study is to determine, if the risk to develop POD differs depending on the anesthetic agent given and if this correlates with a longer duration of intraoperative burst suppression. Methods: In this secondary analysis of the SuDoCo trail [ISRCTN 36437985] 1277 patients, older than 60 years undergoing general anesthesia were included. We preprocessed and analyzed the raw EEG files from each patient and evaluated the intraoperative burst suppression duration. In a logistic regression analysis, we assessed the impact of burst suppression duration and anesthetic agent used for maintenance on the risk to develop POD. Results: 18.7% of patients developed POD. Burst suppression duration was prolonged in POD patients (POD 27.5 min ± 21.3 min vs. NoPOD 21.4 ± 16.2 min, p < 0.001), for each minute of prolonged intraoperative burst suppression activity the risk to develop POD increased by 1.1% (OR 1.011, CI 95% 1.000–1.022, p =  0.046). Burst suppression duration was prolonged under propofol anesthesia as compared to sevoflurane and desflurane anesthesia (propofol 32.5 ± 20.3 min, sevoflurane 17.1 ± 12.6 min and desflurane 20.1 ± 16.0 min, p < 0.001). However, patients receiving desflurane anesthesia had a 1.8fold higher risk to develop POD, as compared to propofol anesthesia (OR 1.766, CI 95% 1.049–2.974, p =  0.032). Conclusion: We found a significantly increased risk to develop POD after desflurane anesthesia in older patients, even though burst suppression duration was shorter under desflurane anesthesia as compared to propofol anesthesia. Our finding might help to explain some discrepancies in studies analyzing the impact of burst suppression duration and EEG-guided anesthesia on the risk to develop POD.
Published in: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 10.3389/fnagi.2023.1067268, Frontiers