An operation under general anesthesia as a risk factor for age-related cognitive decline: results from a large cross-sectional population study

Jeanette B. Dijkstra*, Martin P.J. van Boxtel, Peter J. Houx, Jellemer Jolles

*Corresponding author for this work

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    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the factor ‘operation under general anesthesia’ as a possible risk factor for age‐related cognitive decline.

    DESIGN: A retrospective, population‐based, cross‐sectional study.

    SETTING: Maastricht Aging Study (MAAS), Maastricht, The Netherlands.

    PARTICIPANTS: 1257 normal healthy subjects aged 24 to 86 years. Of the 1257 healthy subjects, 946 subjects appeared to have undergone at least one operation under general anesthesia.

    MEASUREMENTS: The history of an operation under general anesthesia, number of operations, duration of anesthesia, cognitive performance, subjective health, and subjective memory were measured.

    RESULTS: A history of an operation under general anesthesia, the number of operations, and the total duration of anesthesia significantly contributed to the number of subjective health‐related complaints but did not predict cognitive performance or memory complaints. Subjects with a history of an operation under general anesthesia felt less healthy than subjects who had never undergone an operation under general anesthesia. No interactions with age were found.

    CONCLUSION: The present study found no support for the notion that a history of an operation under general anesthesia is a determinant or risk factor for accelerated age‐related cognitive decline.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1258-1265
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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