Statistical and conceptual issues in defining post-operative cognitive dysfunction

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2004 Jul;28(4):433-40. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2004.05.002.


The occurrence of post-operative cognitive dysfunction is a distressing complication following surgery. In an effort to gain a more complete understanding of patients' cognitive recovery following surgical procedures common neuropsychological assessment tools have been adopted in a repeated measures design. It is widely regarded that this represents the most comprehensive method of determining cognitive status in this population but it has resulted in a number of statistical and conceptual difficulties in attempting to infer significant change. The current paper outlines these core difficulties and provides some potential methods to overcome these.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / adverse effects*