Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction in the Elderly: A Review Comparing the Effects of Desflurane and Sevflurane

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Purpose:The incidence of postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) remains a relatively common complication in the elderly following surgery. Use of anesthesia for surgery might precipitate certain cognitive alterations. The purpose of this review is to address the impact of two volatile anesthetic agents, desflurane and sevoflurane, on POCD.Design:The focus of this review was on postoperative recovery and complications using two anesthetic agents.Methods:Several databases including PubMed and Cochrane were searched from the date of inception. The search words POCD, elderly, general anesthetics, desflurane, and sevoflurane were used and the search was limited to human, randomized clinical trials, and English.Findings:The findings show no difference in the emergence time between sevoflurane and desflurane and the incidence of POCD.Conclusions:No definitive conclusion can be drawn about the type of anesthetic used and its relation to occurrence of POCD. However, the information presented is crucial, which can help to improve anesthetic usage and patient safety.

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