general information to know about general anesthesia ii

Last week, we started discussing how many people scheduled to undergo surgery often devote little time to asking about the anesthesia that will be used during their procedure, as they simply take it for a given that they will be anesthetized by a skilled professional in a safe environment.

We also discussed that while this is an understandable approach, people could nevertheless stand to benefit from learning a bit more about what to anticipate regarding general anesthesia. In today’s post, we’ll continue to provide these prospective surgical patients with some basic background information.

General anesthesia — the risk factors

Medical experts indicate that general anesthesia presents very little risk of either short or long-term consequences to most patients, including those suffering from rather serious illnesses.

This is not to say, however, that patients cannot experience complications associated with the use of general anesthesia, or that there are no risk factors known to increase the possibility of patients experiencing these complications.

Indeed, some well-known risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Sleep apnea
  • History of adverse anesthesia reactions/drug allergies

General anesthesia — the rare complications

Even though these complications are rare, it’s very important for patients — particularly older patients and those with some of the risk factors noted above — to understand and appreciate some of the contraindications associated with general anesthesia.

For example, patients under general anesthesia can — and do — experience everything from temporary mental confusion and infections of the lungs to heart attacks, strokes and even death.

In future posts, we’ll examine what happens when a patient is under general anesthesia and what happens when they come out from under it. Furthermore, we’ll examine a rare yet alarming condition known as anesthesia awareness.

When a loved one suffers irreparable harm as a result of an anesthesia error, it’s extremely important to consider all of your options, including speaking with a skilled attorney about the possibility of pursuing legal action.

Source: The Mayo Clinic, “General anesthesia: Tests and procedures,” Jan. 19, 2013

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