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Revista de Neuro-Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-8597


LIRA, David et al. A poorly suspected surgical complication: postoperative cognitive dysfunction. Rev Neuropsiquiatr [online]. 2018, vol.81, n.2, pp.113-121. ISSN 0034-8597.

Many diseases require surgery as a treatment, either emergency or elective. Surgeries can have various complications; However, the possible postoperative cognitive alterations are not considered: delirium of anesthetic awakening, postoperative delirium and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (PCDP). DCPO is a clinical syndrome characterized by alterations in memory, concentration, attention, understanding of language and social integration after the use of anesthesia and surgery that persists after three months; although some reports consider that it would not be an individual clinical entity. Its incidence varies from 5.1 to 52.5% depending on the population studied, type of surgery, time of evaluation from surgery and neuropsychological battery used. The risk factors for DCPO are: advanced age, previous cognitive impairment, severity of coexisting diseases, severity of the surgery, duration and type of anesthesia, occurrence of complications and educational level; It is essential to carry out a neuropsychological evaluation before and after the surgery for its diagnosis. The proposed etiopathogenic mechanisms are: age, changes in cerebral perfusion, sleep disturbances, inflammation, effects of anesthetic agents, and fundamentally neuroinflammation. The DCPO is a frequent and rarely suspected entity, although its diagnosis is controversial. It is suggested that patients who will undergo major elective surgeries, especially cardiac and cerebral surgeries, undergo previous neuropsychological evaluation at 3 months, and intraoperative electroencephalographic monitoring to reduce the incidence of DCPO.

Keywords : Cognitive impairment; memory loss; postoperative cognitive dysfunction; surgical complication.

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