Introduction: Postoperative delirium is common, with a reported incidence of 11% to 80% in critically ill patients. Delirium is an independent prognostic factor for poor hospital outcomes. Low vitamin D concentrations are associated with a decline in cognitive function. We therefore tested the hypothesis that low preoperative serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations are associated with postoperative delirium in critically ill patients. Method: We conducted a retrospective analysis of adults in a surgical intensive care unit for at least 48 hours immediately after non-cardiac and non-neurosurgical operations at Cleveland Clinic between 2013 and 2018. Delirium was assessed by trained nurses using CAM-ICU twice daily for the initial 5 postoperative days. Any positive value was considered evidence of delirium. We assessed the association between 25(OH)D concentrations within a year before surgery and the incidence of postoperative delirium using logistic regression, adjusted for potential confounders. A linear spline term with a knot at 30 ng/ml, the threshold for normal 25(OH)D concentration, was added to accommodate a nonlinear relationship between 25(OH)D concentrations and delirium. Results: We included 632 patients, who had a mean (SD) 25(OH)D concentration of 25 (15) ng/ml; 55% (346/632) experienced delirium. We observed an adjusted odds ratio of 1.4 (95% CI: [1.1, 1.8], P = 0.01) for delirium per 10 ng/ml decrease in 25(OH)D concentrations when patients' 25(OH)D concentrations were less than 30 ng/ml. In patients whose 25(OH)D concentrations were at least 30 ng/ml, the adjusted odds ratio was 0.9 (95% CI: [0.7, 1.1], P = 0.36). Conclusion: Preoperative 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with postoperative delirium in patients whose concentrations are below the normal threshold, but not at concentrations >= 30 ng/ml. A trial will be needed to determine whether the relationship is causal, and whether vitamin D supplementation before surgery might reduce the incidence of delirium.