New research is showing that those over 50 years old who have undergone general anesthesia have a near 30 percent higher risk of getting dementia.
The study findings were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“The study results do not mean that general anesthesia should be avoided because it is dangerous but signals the importance of evaluation and management of cognitive abilities before and after general anesthesia,” said Professor Kim Do-kwan, study investigator from Samsung Medical Center.
Prevention and exploring the risk factors for dementia is essential since there is a lack of fundamental treatments although the social costs due to dementia are rising, he added.
The research team used Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) cohort data on 219,423 adults over 50 years of age to divide them into those with general anesthesia experience and those without it. Researchers then analyzed the data for the onset of dementia for more than 12 years starting in 2002.
Findings showed 8,890 patients were newly diagnosed with dementia and 76 percent of them got Alzheimer’s. According to the research team, those who had undergone general anesthesia had a 28.5 percent higher risk of getting dementia than those who did not.
The results came from after reflecting all factors such as age, sex, accompanying diseases, and surgical areas.
The risk of dementia also rose around 50 percent when using several intravenous anesthetics instead of a single one while the risk rose 6 percent for every extended hour.