Send to

Choose Destination
Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2003 Jun;17(2):259-72.

Cognitive function after anaesthesia in the elderly.

Author information

Department of Anesthesiology, New York University Medical Center, 560 First Avenue, IRM 605, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Despite advances in peri operative care, a significant percentage of elderly patients experience transient post operative delirium and/or long-term post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD). This chapter reviews the aetiology, clinical features, preventive strategies and treatment of these syndromes. Pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative risk factors for delirium and POCD following cardiac and non-cardiac surgery are discussed. It is most likely that the aetiology of delirium and POCD is multifactorial and may include factors such as age, decreased pre-operative cognitive function, general health status and, possibly, intra-operative events. Currently there is no single therapy that can be recommended for treating post-operative cognitive deterioration. Primary prevention of delirium and POCD is probably the most effective treatment strategy. Several large clinical trials show the effectiveness of multicomponent intervention protocols that are designed to target well-documented risk factors in order to reduce the incidence of post-operative delirium and, possibly, POCD in the elderly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center