Anesthesia for the elderly

Hippokratia 2007, 11(4):175-177

Z. Kanonidou, G. Karystianou


Aging is a universal and progressive physiological phenomenon clinically characterized by degenerative changes in both the structure and the functional capacity of organs and tissues.
In general, geriatric patients are more sensitive to anesthetic agents. Less medication is usually required to achieve a desired clinical effect, and drug effect is often prolonged. The most important outcome and overall objective of perioperative care of geriatric population, is to speed recovery and avoid functional decline.
An important principle must be kept in mind when dealing with an elderly patient: Aging involves a progressive loss of functional reserve in all organ systems, to variable extend. Compensation for age-related changes is usually adequate, but limitation of physiological reserve is evident during times of stress such as the perioperative period.

Keywords: geriatric, anesthesia, elderly

Correspoding author: Kanonidou Z, 3rd Dpt Anaesthesiology, Hippokratio Hospital, Thessaloniki Greece. e-mail: