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Indian J Anaesth. 2011 Jul;55(4):358-63. doi: 10.4103/0019-5049.84850.

General anaesthesia does not contribute to long-term post-operative cognitive dysfunction in adults: A meta-analysis.

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1
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The contribution of anaesthesia itself to post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) or the potential protective effect of one specific type of anaesthesia on the occurrence of POCD is unclear.

AIMS:

This is a meta-analysis evaluating the effects of the anaesthetic technique (regional vs. general anaesthesia) on POCD of patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery.

SETTINGS AND DESIGN:

Meta-analysis performed in a University affiliated hospital.

METHODS:

A search for randomized controlled trials (RCT) comparing regional anaesthesia to general anaesthesia for surgery was done in PUBMED, MEDLINE, EMBASE, EBM Reviews-Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PsychINFO and Current Contents/all editions in 2009.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS:

Data were analyzed with comprehensive Meta-analysis Version 2.2.044.

RESULTS:

Twenty-six RCTs including 2365 patients: 1169 for regional anaesthesia and 1196 for general anaesthesia were retained. The standardized difference in means for the tests included in the 26 RCTs was -0.08 (95% confidence interval: -0.17-0.01; P value 0.094; I-squared = 0.00%). The assessor was blinded to the anaesthetic technique for 12 of the RCTs including only 798 patients: 393 for regional anaesthesia and 405 for general anaesthesia. The standardized difference in means for these 12 studies is 0.05 (-0.10-0.20; P=0.51; I-squared = 0.00%).

CONCLUSIONS:

The present meta-analysis does not support the concerns that a single exposure to general anaesthesia in an adult would significantly contribute to permanent POCD after non-cardiac surgery.

KEYWORDS:

Meta-analysis; post-operative cognitive dysfunction; regional anaesthesia

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