oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Long term effects of anaesthesia : neurotoxicity at the extremes of age : the brain and neuroanaesthesia

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2220-1181
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1173



Historically, anaesthetists have believed that their actions only have immediate or short-term consequences. Morbidity or mortality that occurs after discharge is invariably assumed to be secondary to the patient's underlying medical condition. Recently, a growing body of evidence has emerged suggesting that anaesthesia may have long term implications in susceptible individuals, particularly in patients anaesthetised at the extremes of age. Research suggests that anaesthetic agents may be neurotoxic under certain circumstances, and has raised the possibility that even a routine anaesthetic might pose a risk in vulnerable brains at the extremes of age: the very young and the elderly.

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