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Anaesthetic - I have heard this can make the dementia worse?

ElaineW

Registered User
Oct 18, 2012
19
Bristol
Has anybody had any experiences after their loved ones having an anaesthetic and noticed the dementia has got worse? My mum has to have a cataract done (she is blind in the other eye) and we have been told that there is a risk the anaesthetic could make the dementia worse. We have no choice other than for her to have the op or she could go blind. I am just dreading the affects (it's bad enough now - the latter stages) but at the same time I cannot bear the thought of her going blind.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,072
Scotland
I was told that it is likely that anaesthetic would make dementia worse but that the effects would probably be temporary. Go for the op and good luck.
 

Patricia Alice

Registered User
Mar 2, 2015
179
Has anybody had any experiences after their loved ones having an anaesthetic and noticed the dementia has got worse? My mum has to have a cataract done (she is blind in the other eye) and we have been told that there is a risk the anaesthetic could make the dementia worse. We have no choice other than for her to have the op or she could go blind. I am just dreading the affects (it's bad enough now - the latter stages) but at the same time I cannot bear the thought of her going blind.
My mum to has to have anaesthetic to have her cataracts removed and eye entropion fixed in the coming weeks, I have also wondered if it would make the dementia worse. The Consultant did say though he would try with local anaesthetic first and if this was too much for her he would arrange for GA.

I too, would be interested to know if anyone has had this op and the after effects on the dementia.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,189
South coast
Its a general anesthetic that can make dementia worse. Cataracts are usually done with a local anesthetic. Mum has recently had an eye procedure to remove calcium deposits from her cornea. The surgeon told me that the procedure was about the same length of time to do as a cataract op and would tell him whether she would be able to co-operate with having her cataracts removed under local. He said that he never recommended having a general anesthetic for cataracts, but the problem would be if she could not stay still while it was being done.
Mum has been fine after the eye procedure - a bit confused for a couple of days, but no progression in her dementia. Shes now on the waiting list to have her cataracts done.
 

ElaineW

Registered User
Oct 18, 2012
19
Bristol
That's my concern, mum has to have a general, they will not entertain a local anaesthetic because of the risk of her moving. A friend of mine's dad has just had a G/A with an unconfirmed diagnosis of dementia (though I think he probably has got it). the operation was a success but it has caused terrible delirium security have had to be called on the ward. The consultant has put it down to the G/A hence my concern.

Its a general anesthetic that can make dementia worse. Cataracts are usually done with a local anesthetic. Mum has recently had an eye procedure to remove calcium deposits from her cornea. The surgeon told me that the procedure was about the same length of time to do as a cataract op and would tell him whether she would be able to co-operate with having her cataracts removed under local. He said that he never recommended having a general anesthetic for cataracts, but the problem would be if she could not stay still while it was being done.
Mum has been fine after the eye procedure - a bit confused for a couple of days, but no progression in her dementia. Shes now on the waiting list to have her cataracts done.
 

Owly

Registered User
Jun 6, 2011
538
Ask the doctor to check her vitamin B12 levels in her blood, well before the operation.

The nitrous oxide in anaesthetics use up vitamin B12 in your body and without sufficient B12, your brain doesn't work well.

If you go into an operation already low in B12, then the effects can be permanent, that is, they cannot be corrected by B12 supplementation afterwards.

A fair number of older people are deficient in B12 because it needs stomach acid to absorb it, and stomach acid decreases as you get older. Some need regular injections straight into the blood by a doctor. If B12 levels are not checked at the apparent outset of "dementia", then it's possible that this vitamin deficiency is wrongly labelled dementia.
 

ElaineW

Registered User
Oct 18, 2012
19
Bristol
Thanks for the very useful tip regarding B12 levels, I know mum's was Ok 6 months ago so I will get on the case. Very helpful. Thank you xx