Neuropsychologic change after cardiac surgery: A critical review

L. M. Borowicz, M. A. Goldsborough, O. A. Selnes, Guy McKhann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Studies that have examined neuropsychologic change after cardiac surgery address three main issues: (1) the incidence of cognitive change: (2) the identification of factors that put patients at higher risk; and (3) the evaluation of interventions to prevent these complications. This review attempts to bring together concerns associated with various study designs and to integrate the conclusions from these studies. Thirty-five studies have been examined in this review. Some of the difficulties encountered when quantifying the degree of cognitive change are related to study design, patient sampling, and deficit definition. Additionally, changing patient populations have influenced results reported from different health care settings. Increasing age and longer cardiopulmonary bypass times have been correlated with cognitive decline in a number of studies. Filtration devices and blood gas management techniques have decreased but not eliminated the number of patients who have cognitive decline. Cognitive change exists following cardiac procedures. Identification of a subgroup of patients at high risk for cognitive change has been difficult, possibly due to issues of study design. Design of future studies, which may include intraoperative or pharmacologic interventions, is dependent on identification of this high- risk group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • cardiac surgery
  • coronary artery bypass grafting
  • neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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