Post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is a short term decline in cognitive functions that may last for a few days or weeks after a surgery. It is characterized by progressive hypomnesia, personality change or deterioration in cognitive function post surgically. Even though POCD was previously linked to cerebral hypoxia and low blood pressure, newer studies suggested age, duration of anesthesia, intraoperative complications, and postoperative infections were much more associated with POCD. Therefore, as age being one of the major contributors of POCD, we carried out this study to analyze the post-operative cognitive dysfunction between two distinct age groups; the elderly, and the adolescents. Further, we also analyzed the time duration required for both the age groups to return to the normal functioning post operatively.
Materials and Method: This study is a comparative study of pre-operative and post-operative level of cognition in the two age groups: adolescents and elderly, both undergoing an operative procedure under general anaesthesia from February 2016 to April 2016. A total of 50 individuals (25 elderly and 25 adolescents) were screened 1 day prior to surgery, on the day of surgery, 5th post-operative day, 30th post-operative day (4 weeks) and 60th post-operative day (8 weeks) to analyse the postoperative cognitive dysfunction and to study to time duration required for recovery, if dysfunction was observed. The standardized mini-mental state examination (MMSE) was used to measure patients’ cognitive function. Data analysis and presentation of data was done in the form of tables and charts.
Results and Conclusions: 50 patients were observed preoperatively, postoperatively, follow up on 5th day, 30th day and 60th day for a decline in the cognitive dysfunction. Results demonstrated that there was not much decline in the postoperative cognitive dysfunction in the adolescent age group. (1 out of 25; 4%)
However, the elderly age group did show a significant decrease in the post-operative cognitive dysfunction. (9 out of 25; 36%)
We then concluded that the cognitive dysfunction post operatively was lowest among the adolescent age group, but highest among the elderly. Although there was a cognitive dysfunction between the pre-evaluation and the post-evaluation in the elderly, follow-up of these patients showed recovery of the cognitive abilities over time in 7 out of the 9 (77%) elderly age-group patients.