BORDEAUX, France, May 31 (UPI) -- Exposure to general anesthesia increases the risk of dementia in the elderly by 35 percent, researchers in France say.
Dr. Francois Sztark of INSERM and University of Bordeaux, France, and colleagues said postoperative cognitive dysfunction, or POCD, is a common complication in elderly patients after major surgery.
It has been proposed that there is an association between POCD and the development of dementia due to a common pathological mechanism through the amyloid beta peptide.
The researchers analyzed the risk of dementia associated with anesthesia within a prospective population-based cohort of elderly patients age 65 years and older.
The research team used data on about 9,000 from the Three-City study -- Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier in France -- designed to assess the risk of dementia and cognitive decline due to vascular risk factors from 1999-01.
Participants age 65 and older were interviewed at baseline and subsequently 2, 4, 7 and 10 years later. Each examination included a complete cognitive evaluation with systematic screening of dementia.
Participants with at least one general anesthesia after the follow-up had a 35 percent increased risk of developing a dementia compared with participants without anesthesia.
The research was presented at Euroanaesthesia, the annual congress of the European Society of Anaesthesiology.