Purpose of review
Alterations in cognitive functions are common in the perioperative course. Although often unnoticed by physicians, these alterations might have distinct long-term consequences for the patient with regard to everyday functioning, self-dependency, and quality of life. In recent years, however, perioperative cognition has gained increased interest, both by clinicians and scientists, and knowledge of the preventive measures of postoperative cognitive decline has become mandatory for anesthetists and surgeons.
This review offers a brief overview of the current state of knowledge concerning perioperative changes in cognition, including its pathophysiology and prevention strategies.
Postoperative neurocognitive disorders are frequent complications, especially in elderly patients, with postoperative delirium being its most pronounced and acute postoperative form, predisposing the patient for long-term cognitive impairment. The incidence of postoperative cognitive decline can be reduced by implementing preventive measures during perioperative patient care as recommended by national and international guidelines.