Does Preoperative Cognitive Optimization Improve Postoperative Outcomes in the Elderly?

J Clin Med. 2022 Jan 15;11(2):445. doi: 10.3390/jcm11020445.


Perioperative neurocognitive disorder (PND) is a growing concern, affecting several million elderly patients each year in the United States, but strategies for its effective prevention have not yet been established. Humeidan et al. recently demonstrated that preoperative brain exercise resulted in a decrease in postoperative delirium incidence in elderly surgical patients, suggesting the potential of presurgical cognitive optimization to improve postoperative cognitive outcomes. This brief review summarizes the current knowledge regarding preoperative cognitive optimization and highlights landmark studies, as well as current ongoing studies, as the field is rapidly growing. This review further discusses the benefit of cognitive training in non-surgical elderly populations and the role of cognitive training in patients with preexisting cognitive impairment or dementia. The review also examines preclinical evidence in support of cognitive training, which can facilitate understanding of brain plasticity and the pathophysiology of PND. The literature suggests positive impacts of presurgical cognitive optimization, but further studies are encouraged to establish effective cognitive training programs for elderly presurgical patients.

Keywords: advanced age; cognitive training; perioperative neurocognitive disorder; postoperative delirium; preoperative optimization.

Publication types

  • Review