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.