Heart surgery: Does it impact cognitive ability? (Medical News Today):
“Almost 8 million people in the United States undergo cardiovascular surgery or other related procedures each year.
Thanks to the steady improvements made by medical science, the procedures are becoming ever safer and can give people a new lease of life.
Aware of improvements in physical health due to cardiovascular surgery, scientists know less about the cognitive impact of open heart surgery.
A recent study set out to understand precisely how heart surgery might influence the mind … Overall, the researchers conclude that individuals who undergo heart valve surgery are likely to have reduced cognitive ability for the first few months after the procedure.
Although mental ability is likely to return to normal within 6 months, this is a matter for further research. The authors of the study note this as one of the study’s shortfalls — they did not investigate cognitive performance past the 6‑month point…
The authors hope that their findings “encourage routine preoperative cognitive assessment to establish cognitive baseline and postoperative assessment to monitor trajectory.”
According to the authors, it would be useful if future studies focused on the specific factors that made valve surgery patients more susceptible to cognitive decline. This could guide clinicians as they help patients and their families through the recovery process.”
Cognitive Outcomes After Heart Valve Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta?Analysis (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society). From the abstract:
- Objectives: To summarize evidence on cognitive outcomes after heart valve surgery; secondary aim, to examine whether aortic and mitral valve surgery are associated with different cognitive outcomes.
- Measurements: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO for peer?reviewed reports of individuals undergoing heart valve surgery who underwent pre? and postoperative cognitive assessment. Our initial search returned 1,475 articles, of which 12 were included. Postoperative cognitive results were divided into those from 1 week to 1 month (early outcomes, npooled?=?450) and from 2 to 6 months (intermediate outcomes; npooled?=?722). No studies with longer?term outcomes were identified.
- Results: Subjects had moderate early cognitive decline from baseline (Becker mean gain effect size (ES)=?0.39?±?0.27) that improved slightly by 2 to 6 months (ES=–0.25?±?0.38). Individuals undergoing aortic valve surgery—who were older on average than those undergoing mitral valve surgery (68 vs 57)—had greater early cognitive decline than those undergoing mitral valve surgery (ES=–0.68 vs ?0.12), but both cohorts had similar decline 2 to 6 months postoperatively (ES=–0.27 vs ?0.20).
- Conclusions: Heart valve surgery is associated with cognitive decline over the 6 months after surgery, but outcomes beyond 6 months are unclear. These findings highlight the cognitive vulnerability of this population, especially older adults with aortic stenosis.
The Study in Context:
- Study: 10-minute cognitive test MoCA helps predict long-term motor, cognitive and mortality outcomes after stroke
- Next: FDA-cleared mobile brain monitoring tools to detect cognitive impairment
- Should Hospitals Monitor, and Work to Maintain, Patients’ Cognitive Function?
- What are cognitive abilities and how to boost them?