oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Neuroprotection : fact and fantasy : SASA main conference

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2220-1181
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1173



Neuroprotection refers to strategies that prevent, antagonise, interrupt or slow the biochemical and molecular events which have the potential to cause the injury and death of brain cells.

Brain injury is an important adverse complication of anaesthesia and surgery, with variable clinical manifestation from postoperative cognitive decline, transient ischaemic attacks to cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs). Incidences vary according to the type of surgery, with up to 80% being reported in cardiac surgery. Although the injury mechanisms differ between neurosurgical and non-neurosurgical procedures, the common denominator is failure of glucose and oxygen supply, which triggers the cascades of inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and excitotoxicity that lead to neuronal death by apoptosis and necrosis.

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