Background. This study aimed to evaluate the influence that serum levels of vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine have on the development of short-term postoperative cognitive decline in the elderly surgical oncology patient.
Methods. This study was part of a prospective cohort study focused on postoperative cognitive outcomes for patients 65 years of age or older undergoing surgery for a solid malignancy. Postoperative cognitive decline was defined as the change in the combined results of the Ruff Figural Fluency Test and the Trail-Making Test Parts A and B. Patients with the highest change in scores 2 weeks postoperatively compared with baseline were considered to be patients with cognitive decline. Patients with the lowest change were considered to be patients without cognitive decline. To analyze the effect of vitamin levels on the changes in postoperative cognitive scores, uni- and multivariate logistic regression analysis were performed.
Results. The study enrolled 61 patients with and 59 patients without postoperative cognitive decline. Hyperhomocysteinemia was present in 14.2% of the patients. Patients with postoperative cognitive decline more often had hyperhomocysteinemia (27.9 vs 10.2%). Hyperhomocysteinemia was associated with a higher chance for the development of postoperative cognitive decline (odds ratio(adjusted), 11.9; 95% confidence interval, 2.4-59.4). Preoperative vitamin B12 or folate deficiency were not associated with the development of postoperative cognitive decline.
Conclusion. Preoperative hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with the development of postoperative cognitive decline. The presence of preoperative hyperhomocysteinemia could be an indicator for an increased risk of postoperative cognitive decline developing in the elderly.