Editorial Views  |   November 2018
Postoperative Brain Function: Toward a Better Understanding and the American Society of Anesthesiologists Perioperative Brain Health Initiative
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (D.J.C.); the Department of Anesthesiology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, and Center for Clinical Pharmacology, St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri (E.D.K.).
  • Corresponding article on page 872.
    Corresponding article on page 872.×
  • Timothy J. Brennan, Ph.D., M.D., served as Handling Editor for this article.
    Timothy J. Brennan, Ph.D., M.D., served as Handling Editor for this article.×
  • Accepted for publication November 2, 2017.
    Accepted for publication November 2, 2017.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Kharasch: editor-in-chief@asahq.org
Article Information
Editorial Views / Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems
Editorial Views   |   November 2018
Postoperative Brain Function: Toward a Better Understanding and the American Society of Anesthesiologists Perioperative Brain Health Initiative
Anesthesiology 11 2018, Vol.129, 861-863. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002085
Anesthesiology 11 2018, Vol.129, 861-863. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002085
IN Anesthesiology this month is published an article proposing a common nomenclature for describing postoperative brain function.1  The article is being simultaneously published in Anesthesiology, Acta Anaesthesologica Scandinavica, Anesthesia & Analgesia, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, and the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Two questions arise: Why publish the article, and why copublish it?
Postoperative brain function, and more specifically postoperative brain dysfunction, is a significant clinical problem. From the professional athlete who wants to return quickly to the playing field, to the civil engineer who requests to be clear-headed postoperatively because she has to finish the final design for a major highway bridge that afternoon in time for a deadline, to the older grandparent who wants to resume the activities of daily independent living, we take care of patients whose expectation of anesthesia and surgery is that they return to their home and workplace in better condition than they started (and certainly no worse). Yet we have all seen patients in the immediate postoperative period who are clearly suffering from delirium, other types of cognitive dysfunction, or are “just not the same” according to their family, and the desire for rapid recovery to baseline function is not realized.