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Post-operative cognitive dysfunction

What is post-operative cognitive dysfunction?

A state in which a patient's memory and learning declines after surgery. Post-operative Cognitive Dysfunction is common:

  • 1 in 3 patients will have cognitive dysfunction after leaving the hospital.
  • 1 in 10 patients will have cognitive dysfunction that lasts up to 3 months after surgery.

Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with memory and recall.
  • Difficulty completing tasks that were previously not difficult.
  • Struggles with multitasking.
  • Reduced movement and coordination.
  • Difficulty following conversations.
  • Struggles with understanding speech.

Who does it effect?

Although the exact cause is unknown, some patients, who are 60 years of age or older, are at a higher risk due to pre-existing factors including:

  • Health conditions including: diabetes, sleep apnea, cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, etc.
  • Cognitive impairments such as: trouble remembering, concentrating, learning new things, or making decisions.
  • Depression, mood disorders, or other psychiatric conditions.
  • Sleep deprivation (inadequate quality or quantity of sleep).
  • History of alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Level of education.

How to reduce the risk of post-operative cognitive dysfunction?

  • Try to exercise regularly to stay physically active.
  • Maintain good eating habits & ensure proper nutrition
  • Regular mental stimulation can help you maintain a healthy mind.
  • Take prescribed medication regularly.
  • Good management of pre-existing health conditions is important prior to any surgical procedure.