Perioperative Cognitive Anesthesia Network

The Perioperative Cognitive Anesthesia Network (PeCAN) is an interdisciplinary enterprise at UF Health Shands Hospital where anesthesiologists, neuropsychologists, geriatric medicine specialists, surgeons and nurses plan patient care prior to surgery.

PeCAN was established in August of 2017 as part of the Presurgical Center to be a clinical-training-research program designed to address the needs of older adults at risk for poor postoperative outcomes.

Did You Know?

Your surgical, anesthetic and hospital care needs change as you age.

Like our heart and other organs, our brain changes with age, becoming more sensitive to surgery and anesthesia stressors. At UF Health, we offer brain health checks before surgery. This helps your primary doctor and surgical team personalize your care during and after surgery.

Graphical woman holding a heart and another holding a brain

Our Process

2019 surgical national practice guidelines recommend preoperative cognitive assessments for patients with and without a known history of cognitive impairment or dementia.

At UF Health, our anesthesia staff administer a quick cognitive screener to all adults over the age of 65 preparing for elective surgery. Older adults believed to be at risk for cognitive change or confusion following surgery are referred to a preoperative neuropsychologist for a neurobehavioral examination and thorough delirium-risk assessment. This appointment takes approximately one hour to complete.

The neuropsychologist is responsible for alerting anesthesiologists, surgeons, and primary care physicians about the patient’s cognitive status and a potential vulnerability for cognitive change.

The PeCAN clinic has conducted preoperative delirium- and cognitive-risk assessments with over 2,500 adults over the age of 65.

When Can I See the Brain Health Team?

Doctor evaluating an older adult woman.

You are welcome to see a provider immediately after your pre-op anesthesia appointment or on a separate day.

Anesthesiologists, surgeons and primary care physicians can refer you to the PeCAN clinic, or you can personally request to see the team.

Reasons to see a PeCAN provider

  • You or a loved one are scheduled for surgery and have concerns about memory functioning and possible memory changes with anesthesia.
  • You would like to learn how you are currently doing “brain-wise” so that you can optimize your brain health.
  • To create a record of your current memory and thinking abilities for future comparisons.
  • To improve post-surgery discharge care planning.

Our Training

A unique component of the PeCAN program is the broader goal of interdisciplinary training for anesthesiology, neuropsychology, geriatric medicine, neuroscience, surgeons, and biomedical engineering. To this end, residents and medical students at the UF College of Medicine attend periodic lectures on the utility and administration of cognitive screeners.

Discussions include:

  • the rationale for incorporating cognitive tools into preoperative settings
  • the cognitive profile and behavioral presentation of highly prevalent neurodegenerative conditions (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease)

The PeCAN program is based on extensive research indicating that preoperative cognitive and brain health are risk factors for negative postoperative cognitive decline.

Contact Us

Our clinic is located within UF Health Shands Hospital:

  • 1600 SW Archer Road, Suite 1111, Gainesville, FL 32608
  • Call us at 352-594-6051 or email pecan@phhp.ufl.edu

Resources & Publications