Article

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: Aging population is a major demographic trend worldwide. Globally, 50% of all the elderly individuals are estimated to undergo atleast one surgical procedure and post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is one of the most common and often poorly understood post-operative complications in this section of the population. This randomised prospective study was conducted to assess the post-operative cognitive status in the elderly undergoing non-cardiac surgery, evaluate the cognitive parameters affected, evaluate the potential risk factors and thereby analyse the potential for implementation of preventive strategies.
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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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