Lars S. Rasmussen, MD, PhD, Department of Anaesthesia, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD) is a decline in cognitive function detected days or weeks after surgery. It is usually subtle and lasts for weeks or months. The impairment must be evidenced by neuropsychological testing that is, unfortunately, associated with many problems related to its administration, statistical analysis and the interpretation of the test results. Risk factors for POCD are increasing age and type of surgery, with a very high risk after cardiac surgery (incidence 30-70% one week after surgery) and a low risk after minor, non-cardiac procedures, especially if performed on an outpatient basis.
Key words: cognitive function, postoperative, anesthesia, neuropsychological testing.
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