Postoperative Central Nervous System Dysfunction

  • Deborah J. Culley
  • Terri G. Monk
  • Gregory Crosby


This chapter reviews common forms and causes of central nervous system (CNS) morbidity in the elderly after routine surgery and anesthesia. These include, in order of descending prevalence, delirium, prolonged postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD), and perioperative stroke. Although these same conditions are also common during and after cardiac surgery, we will not deal with those situations here because the contributing factors are somewhat different and cognitive morbidity after cardiac surgery is a topic unto itself. We begin with a brief overview of how the brain changes during healthy and pathologic aging because aging of the CNS is a prominent factor in determining susceptibility to cognitive and neurologic morbidity after surgery and anesthesia.


Total Knee Replacement Mean Arterial Blood Pressure Postoperative Delirium Noncardiac Surgery Confusion Assessment Method 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah J. Culley
    • 1
  • Terri G. Monk
    • 2
  • Gregory Crosby
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyDuke University Health SystemDurhamUSA

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