General anesthesia: neurologic complications

Introduction
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By K K Jain MD

In this clinical article, Dr. K K Jain, a neurology consultant in Basel, Switzerland, reviews the neurologic complications of general anesthesia, which may occur during the procedure or in the postoperative period. Contributing factors are preoperative medications and the surgical procedures. The article describes the effect of general anesthesia on cerebral circulation and metabolism as well as the pathomechanism of neurologic complications. Prevention and management of these complications are also discussed.

Key points

  • A number of neurologic complications may occur after general anesthesia.
  • Operation under general anesthesia in some neurologic disorders requires special precautions to reduce aggravation of the condition.
  • Some of the complications, such as delirium and cognitive impairment, are usually transient, but persisting neurologic deficits may occur.