HealthDay News — Elective surgery using general anesthesia (GA) is not associated with an elevated risk for dementia versus regional anesthesia (RA) among older adults, according to a study published online Oct. 6 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Clive Velkers, from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues used linked administrative databases to identify community-dwelling individuals (≥66 years of age) who underwent one of five elective surgical procedures in Ontario, Canada, between April 1, 2007, and March 31, 2011. The analysis included 7,499 pairs of those undergoing GA and those receiving RA who were matched for age, sex, cohort entry year, and a propensity score.

The researchers found no difference in the risk for being diagnosed with dementia for individuals who received GA compared with RA (hazard ratio [HR], 1.0; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.8 to 1.2). Additionally, there was no association between anesthesia and dementia in most subgroup and sensitivity analyses.

“Many older adults experience changes in their cognition immediately following surgery and wonder what role the type of anesthetic might have played in these changes,” one coauthor said in a statement. “Our study provides evidence that anesthetic technique used during elective surgeries, general anesthesia or regional anesthesia, is not associated with a long-term risk of developing dementia.”


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One author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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