—Older adults who have surgery with general anesthesia may experience a modest cortical thinning in the brain, but it does not appear to be tied to Alzheimer disease, according to a study recently published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.
Juraj Sprung, M.D., Ph.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues assessed brain amyloid-β (Aβ) burden among older patients (aged 70 to 97 years) who underwent surgery with general anesthesia either after age 40 or within 20 years of neuroimaging.
The researchers found that regardless of the definition used to quantify exposure, there were no significant associations observed between exposure and either global Aβ with Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography (PET) or brain glucose metabolism with 18-fluorodeoxyglucose PET. There was an association noted between exposure to surgery/general anesthesia and an increased likelihood of abnormal cortical thinning (odds ratio, 1.98) in those exposed after age 40 years and among those exposed in the prior 20 years (odds ratio,1.64).
“This finding suggests that the modest cortical thinning associated with surgery/general anesthesia is not related to Alzheimer disease pathology, but rather is caused by other processes,” the authors write.