Studies in people They found that general anaesthesia was associated with higher risks of dementia . The older the person when they had surgery the more likely they were to have a higher risk of dementia . The researchers suggested that older brains could be less resistant to damage caused by anaesthesia .
Do anesthesia risks increase in older adults ? One concern for older patients is that the aging brain is more vulnerable to anesthesia , medication that prevents you from feeling pain during surgery often by sedating you or making you lose consciousness.
Postoperative cognitive dysfunction ( POCD ) is a decline in cognitive function (especially in memory and executive functions) that may last from 1–12 months after surgery, or longer.
And along with common potential side effects from anesthesia during surgery such as nausea, chills or muscle aches and itching, older patients are at risk for confusion or short-term memory loss. But rest assured, there are steps seniors can take to minimize these side effects.
Post-operative cognitive change across time Decline on geometric form association persisted 4 months (OR=2.56, p<0.001) and 13 months after anesthesia (2.68, p<0.001). Delayed decline (at 13 months) was also observed for immediate visual memory (OR=1.90, p=0.004).
Conclusions. The risk for patients aged over 90 years having an elective procedure differs significantly in the short term from those having emergency surgery . In selected cases, elective surgery carries an acceptable mortality risk.
These studies do not provide enough evidence to suggest that surgery and anaesthesia can cause AD or other dementias. In fact, several studies looking at risk factors for dementia have shown that previous exposure to general anaesthesia is not associated with an increased risk of developing dementia .
The postoperative delirium is mainly characterized by changes in the consciousness and cognition which are observed for a short period after surgery. Cognitive disorders include disorientation in space and time, language difficulties, impairment in learning and memory.
Conclusions: This present study documents that gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures are safe and well tolerated even in the very elderly . Nurse-administered propofol is a safe and reasonable sedation method in these patients.
Postoperative cognitive dysfunction is defined as a new cognitive impairment arising after a surgical procedure. Its diagnosis requires both pre- and postoperative psychometric testing. Its manifestations are subtle and manifold, depending on the particular cognitive domains that are affected.
As older people often have several co-morbidities and /or chronic illness, they are commonly subjected to multiple surgical interventions. Propofol anesthesia has been reported to result in an increase [31–33], decrease [34, 35] and no change  in the incidence of POCD and dementia in humans.
Mild cognitive impairment , or M.C.I. , is not a disease in itself. Rather, it is a clinical description based on performance on a test of memory and thinking skills. Depending on its cause, mild cognitive impairment is potentially reversible .
Post -operative delirium is delirium that happens after an older adult has an operation ( surgery ) and is the most common post -operative complication in older adults. Delirium can have many causes – for example, drugs, infection, electrolyte imbalance, and not being able to move around (immobilization).
Anesthesia , surgery linked to subtle decline in memory and thinking in older adults , Mayo study finds. ROCHESTER, Minn. — In adults over 70, exposure to general anesthesia and surgery is associated with a subtle decline in memory and thinking skills, according to new Mayo Clinic research.
Perioperative delirium and longer term cognitive disturbance are common and disabling consequences of anaesthesia and surgery in the elderly . Evidence is emerging that the risk of postoperative delirium can be predicted by preoperative screening of otherwise asymptomatic patients.