Cognitive Functions may Show a Decline Following a Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

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Researchers have found that patients undergoing invasive cardiac surgeries like coronary catheterization or a coronary artery bypass are more likely to suffer from decline in their cognitive functions following the procedure. The functions to be affected were both verbal and non verbal memories. 
 
The study which has been published in the October issue of the American Heart Journal was led by Dr. Tibo Gerriets from Justus Liebig University. It involved 37 patients who underwent coronary catheterization and 47 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting. All the patients were in the 60 to 70 years age group. The patients were evaluated for their neuro-psychological condition and cognitive functions three months prior to under going the procedure, and the tests were repeated three months following the surgery. The results were compared with those of 33 healthy individuals as controls. Among the study population, 30 patients who underwent catheterization and 39 patients who underwent a bypass graft also had a cerebral magnetic resonance imaging 2 to 4 days after the procedure.
 
The researchers detected acute ischemic lesions in the brain MRI in 17.9%of bypass graft patients and 3.3% catheterization patients. Compared to the healthy volunteers, the patients who underwent coronary catheterization performed badly in 2 out of 10 tests for cognitive function following the procedure. The result was much exaggerated in patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting with the results falling in seven out of the ten tests. Thus, the researchers concluded that post interventional cognitive dysfunction and ischemic cerebral lesions were found after both cardiac procedures. However, they were mild in case of catheterization compared to bypass grafting.
 
The critics of the study say that the patients who developed cognitive dysfunctions may already be suffering from atherosclerosis of the brain vessels, a condition which was present in coronary vessels and led to the different cardiac procedures. So, one cannot blame the cardiac interventions for the decline in the cognitive functions.
 
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Date: 
Friday, October 3, 2014