Postoperative delirium is recognized as the most common surgical complication in older adults,occurring in 5% to 50% of older patients after an operation.With more than one-third of all inpatient operations in the United States being performed on patients 65 years or older, it is imperative that clinicians caring for surgical patients understand optimal delirium care. Delirium is a serious complication for older adults because an episode of delirium can initiate a cascade of deleterious clinical events, including other major postoperative complications, prolonged hospitalization, loss of functional independence, reduced cognitive function, and death. The annual cost of delirium in the United States is estimated to be $150 billion. Delirium is particularly compelling as a quality improvement target, because it is preventable in up to 40% of patients; therefore, it is an ideal candidate for preventive interventions targeted to improve the outcomes of older adults in the perioperative setting. Delirium diagnosis and treatment are essential components of optimal surgical care of older adults,yet the topic of delirium is under-represented in surgical teaching.
Acute pancreatitis is more of a range of diseases than it is a single pathologic entity. Its clinical manifestations range from mild, perhaps even subclinical, symptoms to a life-threatening or life-ending process. The classification of acute pancreatitis and its forms are discussed in fuller detail by Sarr and colleagues elsewhere in this issue. For the purposes of this discussion, the focus is on the operative interventions for acute pancreatitis and its attendant disorders. The most important thing to consider when contemplating operative management for acute pancreatitis is that we do not operate as much for the acute inflammatory process as for the complications that may arise from inflammation of the pancreas. In brieSurgical treatment of acute pancreatitisf, the complications are related to: necrosis of the parenchyma, infection of the pancreas or surrounding tissue, failure of pancreatic juice to safely find its way to the lumen of the alimentary tract, erosion into vascular or other structures, and a persistent systemic inflammatory state. The operations may be divided into three major categories: those designed to ameliorate the emergent problems associated with the ongoing inflammatory state, those designed to ameliorate chronic sequelae of an inflammatory event, and those designed to prevent a subsequent episode of acute pancreatitis. This article provides a review of the above.