Developing postoperative delirium is associated with a more rapid rate of cognitive decline.
New research, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicinereveals that developing postoperative delirium is associated with a 40% faster rate of cognitive decline than those who do not develop delirium.
“Delirium is associated with faster cognitive decline,” he explains. Zachary J. KunickiAssistant Professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. (United States) and first author–. Whether delirium causes this faster rate of decline or whether it is simply a marker of those at risk of experiencing faster rates of decline remains to be determined.”
Sharon K. Inouye, director of the Aging Brain Center, Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research and lead author and principal investigator of the paper, explains that “this study has the longest follow-up period of all studies examining persons with delirium after surgery.”
“Although future studies are needed, this study raises the possibility that delirium predisposes to the permanent cognitive impairment and potentially to dementia,” he continues. This underscores the importance of prevention of delirium To preserve brain health in older adults undergoing surgery.”
Delirium is the most common postoperative complication. frequent in the elderly and is associated with poor outcomes, such as long-term cognitive impairment and dementia. The cohort SAGES has followed 560 older adults (aged 70 years or older), measuring their cognition every 6 months for 36 months, and then annually for up to 6 years.
Using a detailed battery of cognitive tests, consisting of. 11 different testswe found that cognitive changes after surgery are complex and that delirium influences each time point. The mean cognitive changes observed after surgery include a sharp decline at one month after surgery, an increase at two months after surgery, a stable period 6 to 30 months after the intervention and then a steady decline from 3 to 6 years after the intervention.
The delirium is associated with a sharper decline at 1 month, a greater recovery at 2 months, and a more rapid decline at all time periods from 6 months to 6 years, respectively. The results suggest that either delirium itself may contribute to cognitive decline after surgery, or that delirium may serve to identify the persons at risk of more rapid future cognitive decline.
The authors point out that it will be necessary to. future research to examine whether one or both of these hypotheses best explain the relationship between delirium and cognitive impairment.