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General Anesthesia / Memory Loss
Old 05-30-2013, 05:47 PM   #1
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General Anesthesia / Memory Loss

I have had over 20 surgeries in my 45 years. Several before I was 5 and more than a dozen before I was even a teenager. The last one was just a few years ago on my spinal cord and I was under for more than 8 hours, then they had a hard time getting me around and I was several more hours in recovery. I can barely remember anything at all from several weeks after the surgery, its a very odd feeling having weeks unaccounted for. Anyway, since the last one I have been a bit foggy headed and seem unable to grasp things that I KNOW I should be able to and once could have without any problem. When I was young, I was actually pretty smart, even managed to get into Mensa as a teenager with points to spare..... but I am quite certain if I took a standardized IQ test today I would probably barely break a hundred. I am seriously wondering if general anesthesia can cause serious long- term damage? My doc says it is sometimes seen in older people but in someone my age he doesn't think it can happen. But, I can easily point to the day I got worse so....... <shrug>

I am wondering if the damage from anesthesia could be cumulative and the last one really did some permanent damage...

Has anyone else experienced long-term memory problems after anesthesia or know of someone who has?

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Old 05-30-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
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The answer is yes. Hopefully it will improve over time.

Memory Loss Due to Anesthesia | eHow

JAMA Network | JAMA Neurology | Pure Memory Loss With Hippocampal LesionsA Pneumoencephalographic Study

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Old 05-30-2013, 11:55 PM   #3
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I agree with Meadbh, it is very uncommon. You can get retrograde amnesia which is memory loss not only for the duration of anesthesia but for some chunk of time starting before the anesthesia. Lots of possibilities but I'm betting you make a gradual improvement.
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
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An old colleague in the consulting business was advised to retire after his bypass as he would not be as sharp as he used to be. He wasn't. He did.

Sister had cancer and had similar advice. She said, it was true for her.

This was all new information to me.

I cannot tell if I am any stupider after my appendix surgery a couple of years ago. More experienced now. Perhaps that made up for it. Good thing I am almost off the payroll. Still, if I put on a tie and don't pick my nose, I may be able to get into management.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:42 PM   #5
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I have had a similar experience after being on a heart-lung machine for 6 hours. They even have a name for it. They call it pumphead. The machine beats the crap out of your blood causing reactive changes in the brain. Something no one tells you when you ask about possible complications.

Short term memory is still shot to hell but has improved somewhat. Terrible situation for someone in sales. If introduced to more than a couple of people at a time, I immediately forget their names no matter how hard I try to remember.

This isn't the same situation exactly as yours, but I sympathize sincerely with your predicament. I have noticed slight improvement 10 months post surgery. Hopefully you will too. Don't loose hope. Just another reason I want to ER.

Maybe we can start a club. But who could remember when the meetings are? I go thru a boatload of post it notes....
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:15 PM   #6
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Going off on a tangent here.. a few weeks ago I had general anesthesia for a surgery that lasted 6 hours. I am covered by Medicare and private insurance. The latter informed me that they paid $330.48 in addition to Medicare. The anesthesiologist got ripped off IMHO.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:46 PM   #7
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I was put under four weeks ago for a endoscopy and last week for Colonoscopy . I got to agree with JustMeUC. I kind of lost the last month as far as my memory goes. I have been forgetting many things since these two tests which by the way turned out perfect. Maybe its part of the normal aging process, not sure. I know things are not quite the same for me. I hope over time I get back to normal, ever what that is. oldtrig
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:20 AM   #8
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Did you change any of your medications after the surgery and could that be a possible alternative explanation for the memory problems?

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Old 06-22-2013, 08:26 PM   #9
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My father is in his early 70's and just had a pacemaker put in. The day after he came home from the hospital he had no memory of being there and was convinced my mother was playing a joke on him. It's been about a month and he's still complaining about not being able to remember driving directions to places he's been a 100 times. Apparently his is somewhat common after surgery in people his age.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:05 PM   #10
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I kind of wonder if this is something like the general"can't remember things" after normal anesthesia. Read up on how general anesth. makes you forget some things. I have had some back shots for a bulging couple of disks the last couple of years. Everything was fine for most of the day....and then....hell yeah! I HURT! Just made me forget that it did.

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