Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Concerns have been raised about the effects on cognition of anaesthesia for surgery, especially in elderly people. We recorded cognitive decline in a cohort of 394 people (198 women) with median (IQR) age at recruitment of 72.6 (66.6-77.8) years, of whom 109 had moderate or major surgery during a median (IQR) follow-up of 4.1 (2.0-7.6) years. Cognitive decline was more rapid in people who on recruitment were: older, p = 0.0003; male, p = 0.027; had worse cognition, p < 0.0001; or carried the ε4 allele of apoliprotein E (APOEε4), p = 0.008; and after an operation if cognitive impairment was already diagnosed, p = 0.0001. Cognitive decline appears to accelerate after surgery in elderly patients diagnosed with cognitive impairment, but not other elderly patients.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1144 - 1152


anaesthesia, cognitive decline, surgery, Age Factors, Aged, Aging, Anesthesia, Cognitive Dysfunction, Cohort Studies, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Geriatric Assessment, Humans, Male, Memory, Neuropsychological Tests, Postoperative Complications, Risk Factors, Sex Factors