Geriatric Anaesthesia

  • Sivagnanavel Senthuran
  • Nages Nagaratnam


Anaesthesia and surgery are often associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Today, innovations in science and engineering in combination with a system approach to safety and training have made anaesthesia safe in the very old. This chapter will review the effects of age-related physiological changes and altered pharmacokinetics on the anaesthetic drugs and techniques in the elderly. It will cover broad principles of anaesthesia as they apply to the elderly. Age-related changes, for instance, may cause a reduction in anaesthetic requirements due to reduced neuronal mass and weakness of the skeletal muscles, whilst changes in the respiratory system may impact on perioperative assessment and postoperative care. With an ageing population, frailty, coexisting medical problems, the urgency of surgery and the type of surgical procedures have become the important determinants of outcome. The chapter also outlines the common postoperative complications in the elderly. The process of preoperative evaluation and risk assessment is also outlined.


Age-related changes General anaesthesia Regional anaesthesia Preoperative evaluation Postoperative complications 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sivagnanavel Senthuran
    • 1
  • Nages Nagaratnam
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Intensive Care MedicineTownsville HospitalTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Sydney Medical SchoolThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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