Review Article

Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 398, Issue 7, pp 947-955

Perioperative management of delirium and dementia in the geriatric surgical patient

  • Irene HamrickAffiliated withGeriatric Services, Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin
  • , Frank MeyerAffiliated withDepartment of General, Abdominal and Vascular Surgery, Magdeburg University Hospital Email author 

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Older adults undergo operations as our population ages. Increasing life expectancy and disease burden, along with decreased functional status and organ reserve, place the elderly surgical patient at higher general risk in the perioperative state. In particular, these patients have more diseases including dementia and medications that put them specifically at higher risk of delirium.


This overview describes the diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment of delirium and its interface with depression and dementia, and explains aging changes based on the picture of perioperative management in surgical interventions.


Today, surgeons must be equipped to attend the geriatric patient's needs. Early recognition of comorbidities such as dementia and delirium as well as speedy and competent therapeutic treatment can limit consequences and impact.


Delirium Dementia Neurotransmitter Surgery Geriatric Depression