An Update on Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction.

Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco, 94143-0648 (Tsai & Leung), and School of Nursing, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2069 (Sands).
Advances in Anesthesia 01/2010; 28(1):269-284. DOI: 10.1016/j.aan.2010.09.003
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is a mild form of perioperative ischemic brain injury, which emerges as memory decline, decreased attention, and decreased concentration during several months, or even years, after surgery. Here we present results of our three neuropsychological studies, which overall included 145 patients after on-pump operations. We found that the auditory memory span test (digit span) was more effective as a tool for registration of POCD, in comparison with the word-list learning and story-learning tests. Nonverbal memory or visuoconstruction tests were sensitive to POCD in patients after intraoperative opening of cardiac chambers with increased cerebral air embolism. Psychomotor speed tests (digit symbol, or TMT A) registered POCD, which was characteristic for elderly atherosclerotic patients. Finally, we observed that there were significant effects of the order of position of a test on the performance on this test. For example, the postoperative performance on the core tests (digit span and digit symbol) showed minimal impairment when either of these tests was administered at the beginning of testing. Overall, our data shows that the selection of tests, and the order of which these tests are administered, may considerably influence the results of studies of POCD.
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    ABSTRACT: As people live longer, the burden of cognitive impairment to elderly patients, their families and society becomes increasingly common and important. The loss of independence, a reduction in the quality of life and increased mortality are possible correlates to the mental disintegration. Cognitive dysfunction following major surgery on the elderly is a significant problem which adds to other cognitive impairments caused by neurodegeneration, cerebrovascular impairments and other causes. There are challenges in reviewing the literature because of many methodological concerns. There is no standard definition; the diagnosis is made only by the results of neuropsychological tests which are not standardised for this purpose; test results are analysed by different statistical methods (some of them inappropriate); controls are often absent or poorly matched; and pre-existing mild cognitive impairment, which affects 10 to 20% of people older than 65 years and is similar to the subtle cognitive impairment following surgery, is not sought for and recognised. Reviews of the subject have varied from descriptions such as 'a well recognised and significant problem' to 'a hypothetical phenomenon for which there is no International Statistical Classification of Disease (ICD-9) code, and no Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) code'. This article examines both sides of the spectrum in a detailed review which explains the necessary psychological 'jargon', discusses the methods used and points to areas of future research.
    European Journal of Anaesthesiology 07/2012; 29(9):409-22. · 2.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: There are a variety of techniques to handle missing data, such as removing observations with missing data from the analyses or estimating the missing values using various imputation algorithms. Dropping subjects from standard regression models and analyzing only completers, however, may bias results from the true value of reality. Likewise, 'last-observation-carried-forward' may not be an appropriate technique for studies measuring a particular variable over time. METHODS: This dataset was part of a larger prospective cohort study that examined postoperative cognitive decline (POCD) after surgery in older adults. Data collectors had provided the reasons for data being missing using adjectives including 'confused', 'incapable', 'stuporous', 'comatose', and 'intubated'. Data having these qualitative notations were re-coded as 'incapable' and trial scores of zero were recorded. This value of '0' indicated that the patient was cognitively incapable of performing the neuropsychological test. RESULTS: Missing data varied by cognitive test and postoperative day. Re-coding word list scores from missing to zero when a patient was too cognitively impaired to complete the tests improved sample size by 13.5% of postoperative day (POD) 1 and 12.8% on POD 2. Recoding missing data to zero for the digit symbol test resulted in 29.3% larger sample size on POD 1 and 22.7% on POD 2. Verbal fluency gained 15.7% sample size with re-coding for POD 1 and 13.7% for POD 2. Re-coding of each cognitive test reduced missing data sample size to 20-32% in all cognitive tests for each day. DISCUSSION: Our data suggest that using a scoring system that enters a value of '0' when patients are unable to perform cognitive testing did significantly increase the number of patients that met the diagnosis of postoperative cognitive decline using the criteria that were determined a priori and may lessen chances of type II error (failure to detect a difference).
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