Short-term declines in cognitive function can occur in elderly subjects after surgery, and persists in a small percentage.
Heart bypass surgery in particular is associated with cognitive decline - estimates of its prevalence range from 33% to 82%. This decline may persist in as many as 42% of patients. Age and level of education are both factors in determining the likelihood of long-term decline. The presence of a gene (apolipoprotein E4) carried by some 25% of the population may also increase the likelihood of decline after bypass surgery. There also seems to be a link between post-operative fever and cognitive decline. Long-term decline in cognitive function may be more a result of cardiovascular risk factors than the surgery itself.
High blood pressure in those over 60 seems to be associated with greater risk of cognitive decline.
High blood pressure and other circulatory problems, such as cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes, are linked to cognitive decline, perhaps through causing abnormalities in the white matter of elderly persons' brains.
Those with the gene ApoE4 also appear to have more difficulty recovering from traumatic brain injury.
Two drugs used for Alzheimer's have also been found to help those suffering from dementia following stroke.
A specific skills approach is having some success in helping those who suffer from attention problems following stroke.
See separate pages for