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Anesthesiology. 2004 Oct;101(4):855-61.

Apolipoprotein E genotype and cognitive dysfunction after noncardiac surgery.

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Department of Anesthesia 4132, Center of Head and Orthopedics, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.



Apolipoprotein E is important in recovery after neuronal damage. The epsilon4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene has been shown as a risk factor for Alzheimer disease, poor outcome after cerebral injury, and accelerated cognitive decline with normal aging. The authors hypothesized that patients with the epsilon4 allele would have an increased risk of postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) after noncardiac surgery.


In a multicenter study, a total of 976 patients aged 40 yr and older undergoing noncardiac surgery were tested preoperatively and 1 week and 3 months after surgery with a neuropsychological test battery comprising seven subtests. POCD was defined as a decline in test performance of more than 2 SD from the expected. Apolipoprotein E genotypes were determined by blood sample analysis at a central laboratory. Multivariate logistic regression analysis with POCD as the dependent variable assessed presence of the epsilon4 allele (yes/no) and other possible risk factors.


The epsilon4 allele was found in 272 patients. One week after surgery, the incidence of POCD was 11.7% in patients with the epsilon4 allele and 9.9% in patients without the epsilon4 allele (P = 0.41). Three months later, POCD was found in 10.3% of patients with the epsilon4 allele and in 8.4% of patients without the epsilon4 allele (P = 0.40). Multivariate logistic regression analysis did not identify the epsilon4 allele as a risk factor at 1 week (P = 0.33) or 3 months (P = 0.57).


The authors were unable to show a significant association between apolipoprotein E genotype and POCD, but statistical power was limited because of a lower incidence of POCD than expected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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