PMID: 1681217Oct 5, 1991

Is postoperative delirium related to reduced plasma tryptophan?

R C van der MastL Pepplinkhuizen


The cause of postoperative delirium is unknown. In 7 patients with postcardiotomy delirium (6 men, 1 woman; mean age 67 years), we observed a plasma concentration of tryptophan and a plasma tryptophan ratio significantly lower than in 8 non-delirious postoperative control patients. We suggest that the mental symptoms of postcardiotomy delirium are the consequence of a reduced cerebral tryptophan availability due to a catabolic state.


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