While surgical procedures are typically designed to correct a health condition and improve people’s overall quality of life, every now and then, some patients leave the hospital with a new set of problems. For instance, there is new evidence that suggests a significant amount of cardiac surgery patients develop long-term cognitive problems following their procedure.The July 5 issue of "The New England Journal of Medicine" features data from researchers who discovered a connection between the delirium that follows cardiac surgery and a reduction in cognitive function among patients."Our findings now suggest that postoperative delirium, once thought of as an acute, transient cognitive disorder, may have longer-term effects on cognitive function in patients undergoing cardiac surgery," said Jane Saczynski of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the study’s co-lead author.In their study, the researchers followed 225 patients between the ages of 60 and 90 who underwent some type of cardiac surgery for one full year. Of the 103 individuals who experienced post-operative delirium, 46 percent had significant drops in their cognitive ability.As a result, older adults who have recently undergone cardiac surgery, or any other procedure, may want to take an IQ test to see if there have been any changes to their cognitive function.
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