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Can coronary artery bypass surgery cause memory problems?

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is commonly blamed for a loss of memory and thinking skills, also known as postoperative cognitive decline (POCD), especially among older adult patients. While it is not known for certain what causes POCD, factors such as small strokes that happen during surgery, the impact of inflammation from tissue trauma, and pain medications may have a role. Disrupted sleep, delirium, infections and physical inactivity also may contribute. Most of these factors are temporary, so while they may explain an initial cognitive decline seen in the weeks after a major surgery, cognition should gradually improve as the contributors resolve.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.