Background and objective: Cognitive dysfunction has been reported after general anaesthesia, but its assessment is time consuming and difficult to evaluate. This pilot study assessed the feasibility of using the Sustained Attention to Response Test to assess 35 ASA I-II adults (mean age 31.6 yr) undergoing day case surgery under general anaesthesia, and 25 ASA I-II adults (mean age 47.8 yr) undergoing day case surgery under local anaesthesia.
Methods: The Sustained Attention to Response Test was performed before surgery and repeated 2 h after surgery.
Results: When patients repeated the test after surgery under local anaesthesia, the number of incorrect responses increased, but reaction times decreased (P < 0.05). Following general anaesthesia, the number of incorrect responses increased (P < 0.05), but reaction times remained unchanged.
Conclusions: The Sustained Attention to Response Test is simple to administer and may be a useful tool when comparing different anaesthetic techniques and their effects on postoperative deficits in sustained attention.