Cerebral dysfunction after cardiac operations in elderly patients

Eric J. Heyer, Ellise Delphin, David C. Adams, Eric A. Rose, Craig R. Smith, George J. Todd, Mark Ginsburg, Rita Haggerty, Donald J. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background.: Cerebral injury remains a significant complication of cardiac operations. We determined the incidence of cerebral dysfunction in a population of elderly patients undergoing open chamber cardiac operations (group 1) as compared with a younger population (group 2) and an age-matched group of elderly patients undergoing major noncardiac operations (group 3). Methods.: Sixty-eight patients (55 for open chamber cardiac operations and 13 for noncardiac operations) were propsectively studied. Patients were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively before hospital discharge using a complete neurologic examination and a battery of standard neuropsychometric tests, and at surgical follow-up with neuropsychometric tests only. Results.: Postoperative changes detected by neurologic examination consisted of the appearance of new primitive reflexes in all groups. No statistically significant differences in incidence were found. The neuropsychometric performance of group 1 patients was statistically different from that of patients in groups 2 and 3 only in the early follow-up period. Conclusions.: Elderly patients having open chamber cardiac operations exhibit significantly more cerebral dysfunction in the early postoperative period than those undergoing major noncardiac operations and younger patients after open chamber procedures. These changes do not persist into the late follow-up period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1716-1722
Number of pages7
JournalThe Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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