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JOURNAL: Mental Health Institute of Victoria (MHIV)
AUTHORS: Dr Rowan Thomas
ABSTRACT: Growing evidence suggests anaesthesia can speed up the onset of dementia in elderly patients.
The new findings present the medical fraternity and patients with a new dilemma.
COMMENTARY: Recent studies by the Mental Health Institute of Victoria (MHIV) show the incidence of post-operative cognitive decline occurs in between 15 and 30 per cent of elderly patients, mostly in those aged over 65 years.
They have found it is more prevalent in patients who already had some dementia.
"Having a major operation can unmask or speed up that process," anaesthetist Dr Rowan Thomas said.
Australian Medical Association (AMA) national vice-president Mukesh Haikerwal says in time, patients could be forced to chose between the benefits of major surgery and its downside.