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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094On-line version ISSN 1806-907X


AQUINO, Régis Borges; SOUZA, Antonio Carlos Araújo de; ARGIMON, Irani de Lima  and  SANTOS, Patrícia F. Ritter dos. Effects of general anesthesia in elderly patients’ memory and cognition. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2004, vol.54, n.5, pp.687-692. ISSN 0034-7094.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: General anesthesia and mental function have been subject to studies and considerations, especially for the feeling that, especially in the elderly, it could induce changes in cognition and memory. This study aimed at evaluating the effects of general anesthesia in cognition and memory of elderly patients, correlating them to gender, age and anesthesia duration. METHODS: This is a cohort, controlled study with patients divided in two observation groups: a - anesthetic; b - clinical (control). Outcome variables studied were Mini-mental test, Verbal Fluency test and Numeric Remembrance test scores; general anesthesia with halothane, isoflurane, sevoflurane, thiopental, propofol, etomidate, fentanyl, alfentanil, succinylcholine, atracurium and pancuronium; intraoperative period with PaCO2 30 to 45 mmHg, hemoglobin saturation above 90% and blood pressure tolerance with up to 20% decrease as compared to baseline. Patients presenting any intra and postoperative adverse event were excluded from the study. Chi-square test was used for categorical data. Student’s t test for independent samples was used for initial comparison between groups at baseline moment (preanesthetic). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measures was used to evaluate anesthetic process effects along time. RESULTS: Groups were similar in the Mini-Mental test with increased scores along time. Both groups had virtually unchanged Verbal Fluency test scores. Both groups were very similar in Numeric Remembrance test with increased scores in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: No postoperative cognition or memory decline has been observed in patients of both genders, aged 60 to 80 years, submitted to general anesthesia lasting 3 to 7 hours.

Keywords : ANESTHESIA [General]; ANESTHESIA [geriatric]; CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM [cognition]; CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM [memory].

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