WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE ENCOURAGES COGNITIVE TESTS BEFORE ELDERLY HAVE SURGERY

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported that “more hospitals are testing the mental fitness of older patients before surgery amid evidence that the trauma of an operation can accelerate cognitive decline.”

Other points made by the article published on November 29, 2016 include:

·         “Evaluating patients for memory and thinking problems can help doctors anticipate how patients will tolerate the surgery and follow care instructions once they get home.”

·         “A cognitive assessment also can assist patients’ families and proceed with a surgery by giving them more information about the potential risks.”

·         “Studies show as many as 81 percent of patients who meet the criteria for dementia have never had a formal diagnosis, and families may overlook symptoms as just natural age-related memory loss.”

·         The American College of Surgeons and the American Geriatrics Society recommend that hospitals assess any patient over 65 for cognitive impairment as part of a pre-operative evaluation. Stress, inflammation, pain, medications and anesthesia that often accompany surgery are especially tough on older patients.”