Post-Op Patients Might be Going Home with Cognitive Impairment

We’ve highlighted the importance of cognitive testing using many perspectives in the past, one of which being the cost savings that can be achieved through testing early and longitudinally.

Similarly to early detection of cognitive impairment due to dementia, there are potential cost savings to be achieved through testing for perioperative neurocognitive disorders (PND)—disorders with onset immediately following a surgical procedure up to 1 year post-op. This can include everything from post-op delirium, delayed cognitive recovery, and dementia diagnosis. Among the cohort studies, approximately 45,000 patients (1.9%) were diagnosed with a PND. 

Payments for the hospital stay during the initial surgical procedure were higher for patients with PND compared to those without, in addition to costs associated with skilled nursing requirements after hospital discharge. Notably, PND was also associated with older age, lower socioeconomic status, and higher medical comorbidities. 

The increase in healthcare costs for those with PND was over $17,000 more than those without in the first year after surgery. Given delirium is preventable and treatable when it does occur, detection of this PND delirium alone represents a significant avenue for cost savings and improved patient outcomes.

In order to detect perioperative cognitive changes, it is critical to have access to quick and easy cognitive testing at scale. Computerized cognitive testing provides this ability. BrainCheck is currently working with several colleagues in anesthesia and surgery to validate this use case. We hope to demonstrate that BrainCheck can be used to detect and track cognitive changes both before and after surgery in order to intervene early and effectively. If you are interested in using BrainCheck for perioperative cognitive testing, please contact us.

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