HealthDay News — Prophylactic use of melatonin does not prevent delirium after major cardiac surgery, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Andrew H. Ford, M.D., from the University of Western Australia in Perth, and colleagues randomly assigned (1:1) 210 adults (≥50 years) who were due to undergo coronary artery bypass grafting or valve replacement surgery to either seven days of treatment with melatonin (3 mg at night) or matching placebo, starting two days before the surgery. The incidence of postsurgical delirium was evaluated.
The researchers found that 42 participants developed delirium, but it was evenly distributed between the groups (melatonin: 21.4 percent; placebo: 20.2 percent; adjusted odds ratio, 0.78; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.35 to 1.75). The median duration of delirium was similar between the groups. Severe episodes of delirium were also similar between the groups (melatonin: 42.9 percent; placebo: 28.6 percent; adjusted odds ratio, 1.98; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.40 to 9.78).
“While the negative findings are disappointing, it is probably not that unexpected given the complex nature of delirium,” Ford said in a statement.