SURGERY IN OLDER PEOPLE COULD RESULT IN 'SILENT' STROKES AND COGNITIVE DECLINE: CANADIAN RESEARCH

Aug 16, 2019

By Jane Brown

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It seems when older people have surgery, there could be unintended consequences.

We are learning that so-called “silent” strokes are common in seniors after they have elective, non-cardiac surgery and also double their risk of cognitive decline one year later.

Researchers at Hamilton Health Sciences say in fact, that silent strokes are actually more common than overt strokes in surgery patients over 65.

While an overt stroke causes obvious symptoms such as weakness in one arm or speech problems, a covert or silent stroke is not obvious except on brain scans.

Overt stroke occurs in less than one per cent of adults after non-cardiac surgery but covert strokes happen in 7 percent of those studied.

Patients who experience these subtle strokes were also more likely to experience cognitive decline, delirium, overt stroke or a mini-stroke within one year, compared with patients who did not have a silent stroke.

You can read about the results in The Lancet.

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