Study: Light sedation could lower post-operative danger for elderly

A new study by researchers from Johns Hopkins concludes that if operative teams limit the depth of sedation used during procedures on the elderly, it could safely lower the long-term risk of health problems they face. In fact, limiting the depth of sedation could cause the risk to drop by 50 percent in some elderly patients.

The study found that short-acting anesthetic propofol, along with similar anesthetics, have some lingering effects. The research, a double-blind study looking at 114 patients undergoing hip-fracture repairs at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, split patients into groups of those receiving spinal block anesthesia and those who were lightly sedated with propofol, contrasted with those more deeply sedated with the same meds.

Researchers found that postoperative delirium rates were significantly lower in the group that was lightly sedated. This led researchers to conclude that one incidence of delirium could be prevented for every 4.7 patients treated with lighter sedation.

To get more data from the study:
- read this Johns Hopkins press release

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