Another surgery question


Registered User
Jul 2, 2005
Hello all.

My husband, a vascular dementia sufferer, is shortly to have an operation. Our CPN has warned me that anaesthesia can make people with dementia much worse for as long as a month afterwards. She has another patient who had this happen. Have any of you out there had experience of this? She said I could probably have additional caring support afterwards, which I guess means the patient cannot be left alone in the house for some time.


Registered User
Nov 30, 2003
Hello Rosalind
I was told just the same thing when my husband went in for an operation 4 months agoand was very worried. He had a prostate op but luckily, the surgeon used an epidural. Is that an option for your husband? What I did find was that the nurses looked after him well but had no time to explain things 2 or 3 times to make sure he understood. It seems they had little experience of Alzheimer's on a general ward. Our local hospital had a Patient Liaison officer and I got in touch with her. This was the best thing I did as she went to the ward when he was admitted and explained to the nurses that he must have a nurse with him whenever a doctor, anaesthetist etc came to see him. She asked the sister on the ward to take him down to theatre to explain his unusual reactions to some of the instructions he was given, so most areas were covered. When David came home he was quite disorientated because all his routine had been disrupted and because he was unable to talk very well to other patients so had been very bored. There are small things you don't think of like David was unable to make a choice for his meals on the menu card so we had to do that each night during visiting. He had to be constantly reminded where the toilets were. The trick is to find out which ward your husband is being admitted to and phone in advance to prime them on what to expect.
Good Luck


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi Rosalind,

You probably have already seen the link that I posted to Jane, but I'll list it here for the sake of completeness:

When I was looking into the effects of anaesthetics, I found two other articles which might be relevant:

The problem is that while the evidence of risk is being established, little is understood regarding the underlying mechanisms and the reduction of risk. That Duke Medical News article does mention a few possible options regarding things like anti-inflamatory drugs. The use of a local anaesthetic, such as the epidural as Susie mentions below, seems to also be less risky.

It might be worth having a discussion with the GP to see how these concerns can be communicated to the surgeon/anaesthetist in advance of the surgery so all reasonable options can be considered.

Take care,



Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
My mum broke her hip at the end of November last year. The doctor did say that they might decide to use a spinal or epidural anaesthetic. This seemed to be because of her age and general state of health, rather than the dementia. I have never been able to find out to this day what procedure was used. I would say that her dementia didn't seem noticeably worse afterwards and she recovered quite well, although, sadly, she is not now walking.