Case Studies of Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction in Elderly Patients

Case Studies of Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction in Elderly Patients

Author Info

Corresponding Author
Kalliopi Megari
Lab of Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece


Background and Objective: Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) involves decline in several cognitive domains after surgery and is particularly common after cardiac surgery. Given the potential effects of such cognitive dysfunction on quality of life, it is important to study it in multiple populations in order to limit its occurrence. Recent advances in surgical technology may assist in achieving this goal. Methods: We present the long-term neuropsychological outcome of two elderly patients, one of whom had off pump heart surgery and the other oncological surgery. We administered a series of neuropsychological tests assessing attention, complex scanning, verbal working memory, executive functioning, short-term and long-term memory, and visuospatial perception before surgery, prior to discharge, at 3-month follow-up and 6 years after surgery. We compared the performance of these two patients to normative datasets. Results: Despite equivalent levels of pre-surgery performance between the two patients, the oncology patient exceeded his preoperative neurocognitive levels, suggesting less postoperative cognitive dysfunction in the heart patient overall, on all neuropsychological domains at 6-year follow-up, except short-term retention. In contrast, the heart patient showed no improvement, and, instead, showed some cognitive decline which remained consistent over time. Conclusion: Our findings highlight the critical role of the type of surgery utilized in the development of POCD and have implications for clinical management and patients’ quality of life in the very long term.

Article Info

Article Type
Case Report
Publication history
Received: Mon 02, Aug 2021
Accepted: Wed 10, Nov 2021
Published: Fri 26, Nov 2021
© 2023 Kalliopi Megari. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository.
DOI: 10.31487/j.IJCST.2021.03.02