Study: Bypass Surgery Linked to Cognitive Change

STOCKHOLM - Researchers attending the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders report coronary artery bypass grafting may increase the risk of stroke, short-term memory problems and long-term cognitive change.

The procedure is a common method of treating heart disease.

The study, conducted by officials at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, studied 3,300 patients who underwent the procedure. Some 2.6 percent of those followed later suffered from a stroke, and 6.8 percent had memory-related problems. The problems increased depending on the amount of time the patient spent in the hospital and the length the patient was on a bypass pump.

The risk factors from stroke and acute confusion determined by the researchers included: hypertension, diabetes, carotid bruit, previous stroke, age and time on the bypass pump.

The American Heart Association reports more than 570,000 Americans had a coronary artery bypass graft procedure in 1999.