Jun 22, 2018

6 Questions You Need to Ask About Surgery, Anesthesia and Dementia

Lately we have been receiving a lot of search queries from Google and Yahoo concerning Anesthesia, Surgery, Alzheimer's and dementia.

What do you really know about Anesthesia and Surgery?
It is clear that this is a growing concern for caregivers taking care of patients living with dementia and Alzheimer's.

It is likely to be of greater concern as baby boomers continue to age and the incidence of Alzheimer's and related dementia's like Lewy Body continue to rise.

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It is not unusual for dementia patients to evidence considerable negative effects from anesthesia after an operation.

Caregivers often notice sharp drops in memory, postoperative delirium, and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) after an operation, and have no idea what to do about.

You should find all the links in this article to be helpful, including this one.

Article - Alzheimer's and Anesthesia

It is clear that anesthesia and Alzheimer's don't mix well. As a result, you should always talk to a doctor specialist (surgeon), and to an anesthesiologist before any surgery.

Three things you want to know are:

1. Is the the operation absolutely necessary?

2. What alternative anesthesia's are available, and which work best with dementia patients?

3. What is the protocol, in other words what is going to be done, after the surgery if any of these problems arise - a sharp drops in memory, postoperative delirium, or postoperative cognitive dysfunction?

You really need to have these conversations upfront so you are clear on what will be done in the eventuality of any problems.

What you should know about anesthesia - Harvard Health

Ask these 3 questions.

4. Is the doctor going to use Sedation or Anesthesia?

5. What are the risks involved in the Surgery?

6. What are the known anesthesia risks for the Elderly?

The surgeon and anesthesiologist should be able to answer these questions easily. If not, you might need a second doctor or a second opinion.

This article - 3 Things Everyone Should Know About Anesthesia - should be helpful in helping you ask the right questions and how to formulate those question. You might want to print the article and have it in hand if surgery is on the horizon.

Does Anesthesia Cause Dementia or Memory Loss in the Elderly?

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Source Alzheimer's Reading Room

Under general anesthesia, you are completely unconscious and unable to feel pain during medical procedures. General anesthesia usually uses a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gasses (anesthetics).

General anesthesia is more than just being asleep; the anesthetized brain doesn't respond to pain signals or reflexes.

An anesthesiologist is a specially trained doctor who specializes in anesthesia. While you're unconscious, the anesthesiologist monitors your body's vital functions and manages your breathing.

In many hospitals, an anesthesiologist and a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) work together during your procedure.
Source - Mayo Clinic

Anesthesia is a way to control pain during a surgery or procedure by using medicine called anesthetics. It can help control your breathing, blood pressure, blood flow, and heart rate and rhythm.
Source - WebMD

Bob DeMarco Alzheimer's Reading Room