General anesthesia and memory loss....

  1. 82 year old woman good health prior to surgery went in for surgery for removal of bladder. She was then dx with diverticulitis during surgery and the dr opted to reroute the colon and therefore she has a colostomy and urostomy bags. She was under general anesthesia for 6 hours and after surgery she was delierious for 2 weeks post surgery followed by severe memory loss that resulted in extreme depression, withdrawl, loss of appetite. The question is can general anesthesia cause severe short and long term memory loss? Any input would be appreciated. Thank you.
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    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 10


  3. by   ShaunES
    Short term, yes, long term, I'd be looking at an undiagnosed surgical complication such as a DVT that's blown to the brain and caused a CVA or similar.
  4. by   CRNAGAL
    Certainly anesthesia could have played a part in memory loss initially, but the big picture is you have a very elderly patient undergoing a major surgery. Removal of the bladder and bowel resection is alot to recover from! Add to that the patient is in new surroundings, probably spent sometime in ICU, received alot of pain meds, etc., can all lead to memory loss and confusion. Healing from surgery takes a lot out of a person and I've seen a lot of elderly patients become low fliers after this type of surgery. I can see how it could lead to depression.
  5. by   jabarnardrn
    I know that anesthesia can cause short-term memory loss or psychosis, but I have never heard of anything long-term. Patients usually get over it in a day or two, in my experience with general anesthesia or conscious sedation. For any longer periods of memory loss or psychosis, I would think that there would be another underlying problem that might need to be looked into -- CVA would be my first thought.