Cognitive function after surgery with regional or general anesthesia: A population-based study

Juraj Sprung, Phillip J. Schulte, David S. Knopman, Michelle M. Mielke, Ronald C. Petersen, Toby N. Weingarten, David P. Martin, Andrew C. Hanson, Darrell R. Schroeder, David O. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Our aim was to examine whether surgery with regional anesthesia (RA) is associated with accelerated long-term cognitive decline comparable with that previously reported after general anesthesia (GA). Methods: Longitudinal cognitive function was analyzed in a cohort of 1819 older adults. Models assessed the rate of change in global and domain-specific cognition over time in participants exposed to RA or GA. Results: When compared with those unexposed to anesthesia, the postoperative rate of change of the cognitive global z-score was greater in those exposed to both RA (difference in annual decline of −0.041, P = .011) and GA (−0.061, P < .001); these rates did not differ. In analysis of the domain-specific scores, an accelerated decline in memory was observed after GA (−0.065, P < .001) but not RA (−0.011, P = .565). Conclusions: Older adults undergoing surgery with RA experience decline of global cognition similar to those receiving GA; however, memory was not affected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1243-1252
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Anesthesia: regional
  • Attention/executive function
  • Cognitive aging
  • Cognitive z-scores
  • Domains: memory
  • General
  • Global cognitive scores
  • Language
  • Mayo Clinic Study of Aging
  • Older adults
  • Surgery
  • Visuospatial skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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