“Pump Head”

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Decreased Oxygen blood levels in the brain during heart surgery correlates to increased risk of suffering from the mental impairment dubbed “pump head”.Heart surgery patients in whom a heart-lung machine was used often find their brain function slipping for months or years afterward.
Studies have shown that 20-40% of patients set to undergo CABG surgery already had some degree of cognitive decline before the operation. It was assumed that this was a complication of the heart-lung machine. New studies however suggest this is caused by decreased blood flow through already diseased arteries to the brain.
References:

  1. Cerebral oxygen desaturation predicts cognitive decline and longer hospital stay after cardiac surgery.Slater JP, et al; Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 Jan;87(1):36-44
  2. Heart-Lung Machine May Not Be the Culprit in Post-Op “Pump Head” Syndrome
 

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