One of the common complications associated with anaesthesia and surgery in geriatric patients is the postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD). This cognitive impairment affects the long-term prognosis and has been shown to be associated with long-term disability, higher health care costs, and even increased mortality. On the other hand, clinical research on POCD is in its infancy, the condition has not been clarified, and since no strategy for management is currently available, it is imperative to develop specific methods for prevention and management. Although its pathogenesis involves various factors, accumulating evidence suggests that surgery elicits an inflammatory response in the hippocampus, a brain area closely related to cognitive function, playing a key role in the development of POCD. Several studies suggest that age-related phenotypic change of microglia is associated with pathogenic neuroinflammation, and more importantly it may be modifiable. In this chapter, we discuss the current overview and preclinical highlights regarding POCD. We further discuss some perspectives on preventive strategies for POCD, based on the findings of our preclinical research and the available literature.
Part of the book: Current Topics in Anesthesiology