While most patients are up and about just a couple of days following a surgery, some are left with long-term impairment of their cognitive functions, lasting weeks, months, or even years. Now, experts look into the root cause of why this happens.
A study published in the July 5 issue of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggests that, in the case of cardiac surgery patients, postoperative delirium is connected to a prolonged loss of cognitive function.
Patients over the age of 65 are the most likely to experience ill side-effects from major surgery. While younger individuals rebound fast, seniors tend to take long, on average, and are more likely to experience the negative effects more intensely.
“While previous research has shown an association between postoperative delirium and functional decline in activities of daily living, believe it or not, the association that’s been most uncertain is between delirium and long-term cognitive difficulties,” experts at the Harvard Medical School