Geriatric anesthesia (or geriatric anaesthesia) is the branch of medicine that studies anesthesia approach in elderly. The perioperative care of elderly patients differs from that of younger patients for a number of reasons. Some of these can be attributed to the changes that occur in the process of aging, but many are also caused by diseases that accompany seniority. The distinction between so-called normal aging and pathological changes is critical to the care of elderly people. Anesthesia and surgery has become more common as the population survives longer.
Perioperative management of the geriatric patients requires knowledge’s about changes associated with aging physiology and its relation to surgery and anesthesia. Only experienced Anesthetists can evaluate patients effectively and plan for their perioperative care to minimize complications. Comprehensive preoperative evaluation of an elderly individual's health status can be a very challenging aspect, especially for the young Anesthetists.
Many differences can be seen in geriatric anesthesia. First, the preoperative evaluation of the geriatric patient is typically more complex than that of the younger patient because of the heterogeneity of this patient group and the greater number and complexity of comorbid conditions that usually accumulate with age.
Perioperative functional status can be difficult to predict because many elderly patients have reduced preoperative function as a consequence of deconditioning, age-related disease, or cognitive impairment. This makes it difficult to adequately assess the patient’s ability to respond to the specific stresses associated with surgery.
A common example is trying to determine cardiopulmonary reserve in a patient very limited by osteoarthritis. Physiologic heterogeneity and decreased functional reserve are also manifested perioperatively. Normal aging results in changes in cardiac, respiratory, and renal physiology, and the response of the elderly patient to surgical stress is often unpredictable. The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of elderly and younger patients also differ; moreover, the elderly patient’s use of multiple medications may alter homeostatic mechanisms.
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Anesthesiology Case Reports: Open-Access