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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 358-363

General anaesthesia does not contribute to long-term post-operative cognitive dysfunction in adults: A meta-analysis

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Joanne Guay
Department of Anesthesia, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, 5415, L'Assomption Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec, H1T 2M4
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.84850

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Context: The contribution of anaesthesia itself to post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) or the potential protective effect of one specific type of anaesthesia on the occurrence of POCD is unclear. Aims: This is a meta-analysis evaluating the effects of the anaesthetic technique (regional vs. general anaesthesia) on POCD of patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery. Settings and Design: Meta-analysis performed in a University affiliated hospital. Methods: A search for randomized controlled trials (RCT) comparing regional anaesthesia to general anaesthesia for surgery was done in PUBMED, MEDLINE, EMBASE, EBM Reviews-Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PsychINFO and Current Contents/all editions in 2009. Statistical Analysis: Data were analyzed with comprehensive Meta-analysis Version 2.2.044. Results: Twenty-six RCTs including 2365 patients: 1169 for regional anaesthesia and 1196 for general anaesthesia were retained. The standardized difference in means for the tests included in the 26 RCTs was -0.08 (95% confidence interval: -0.17-0.01; P value 0.094; I-squared = 0.00%). The assessor was blinded to the anaesthetic technique for 12 of the RCTs including only 798 patients: 393 for regional anaesthesia and 405 for general anaesthesia. The standardized difference in means for these 12 studies is 0.05 (-0.10-0.20; P=0.51; I-squared = 0.00%). Conclusions: The present meta-analysis does not support the concerns that a single exposure to general anaesthesia in an adult would significantly contribute to permanent POCD after non-cardiac surgery.

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