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Had open heart surgery. Suffer memory loss and slowness in words. Is it due to heart lung machine?

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Cardiac Surgeon
Practicing since : 1989
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Dear Doctor: My husband had open heart surgery 18 months ago, and was, of course, on the heart-lung machine for approximately six hours. I am wondering whether his significant memory loss, "slowness" in thinking of words, etc. could possibly be related to the heart-lung machine. (He had the surgery for a very large aorta dissection).
Posted Thu, 18 Jul 2013 in Valvular Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. F. Sadruddin Shariff 11 hours later
Thank you for the Query

I understand that your husband has recovered from the whole procedure quite completely except for the fact that he has what we call cognitive dysfunction syndrome also known as pump-head or post-perfusion syndrome in which subtle symptoms of attention, concentration, recent memory, fine motor function, and speed of mental, verbal and motor responses occur. Most of the Aortic surgeries are done not just under the Heart Lung Machine but also under total circulatory Arrest (TCA) in which the blood and the body are cooled to a very low level and the circulation stopped to enable working on the Aorta in a blood less field. But nevertheless all these impairments are temporary and they usually return to normal after sometime.
If the Cognition Deficit is too much you can always take the help of a Psychiatrist and check whether any additional problems are coexisting
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