Wednesday, April 16, 2014


By John Gothard

The term anesthesia comes from Greek (a aisthesis) which means "without sense".

Most large and many smaller operations in the United Kingdom are carried out freely and without pain under anesthesia, where patients are completely unconscious, about events.

How anaesthetics work?

Anesthesia can be induced and maintained by drugs injected into a vein (intravenous anaesthesia), or through the use of the anaesthetic gases by the patient (inhalational anesthesia) are inhaled. These methods are often combined.

General anesthesia was over 150 years of experience in use, but amazing, we lack even a comprehensive explanation of how the different drugs on the brain lead to loss of consciousness to act.

The wealth of clinical and research-know that has accumulated, however, make anesthesia a process safe and well-tolerated.

Who manages and oversees general anesthesia?

In the United Kingdom, qualified doctors administer anesthesia, assisted by technicians.

For major surgery, your anesthesia are performed or monitored closely by a consultant anaesthetist.

Specialist training as a consultant in anesthesia takes at least six years.

What is my anesthesiologist during the preoperative visit need to know?

Your anesthesiologist will be questions about your past and current health, smoking habits, alcohol consumption and all medications that you are taking.

It is also important that the anesthetist know of drug allergies and if you or your family members had an abnormal reaction to an anaesthetic.

This is because, there are rare conditions, where individuals unusual anesthesia or paralyzing medication (muscle relaxants respond) inherited.

More often, patients can they said to Anesthesiology, excessive "sick" feeling in this case a plan, can these side effects to minimize are introduced.

The anesthesiologist must know the condition of the teeth and if you have dentures, crowns or loose teeth.

An airway device is located in the mouth for short anesthetics and major surgery, which will be placed a tube in the respiratory tract below the larynx.

Damage to teeth can therefore occur, but can be avoided if the anesthesiologist issues is advised.

The anaesthetic procedure is explained me?

Yes. Treatment for relief of pain and disease will be discussed after the surgery.

If you for major surgery with pain-relieving techniques such epidural anesthesia (local anaesthetic injected medication through a catheter in the vicinity of the spinal cord) are then discussed the relative risks and benefits are planned.

Other issues such as the possibility of blood transfusion will also be discussed.

For all routine operations, patients are asked to eat not to solid food for at least six hours before surgery.

Water may up to two hours before. Most drugs are continued up to the time of the intervention and can swallow to be ingested by water.

Certain medicines, in particular to the "thin the blood" and to prevent blood clotting (E.g.: aspirin or warfarin) must be stopped before your admission to the hospital and you on these will be pointed out.

Sedating drugs can you one or two hours before the procedure as an intramuscular injection, or generally in the form of tablets can be given.

This sedation is called the "pre-med" and it can help to relax and relieve anxiety. Patients very well informed in practice require no "pre-med".

Finally the anesthesiologist is explained, are stunned as you.

After installation of monitors to your blood pressure to measure and monitor your heart beat and oxygen levels that injected a numbing drug into a vein on the back of the hand or in the lower arm.

At the same time, oxygen as a precaution by Facemask, will be managed.

You'll be drifting off to sleep and wake up at the end of the procedure.

What are the risks?

Modern anesthesia is very safe. Deaths occur in the UK in about one in every 200,000 anesthetics administered.

Against the background that the death by murder one in 100,000 people are affected, seems this is an acceptable risk.

The overall risk for an individual in surgery, but refers to a number of factors, including the existing condition and the type of operation.

For example, the mortality rate for coronary artery surgery is currently 1% to 2%.

This is of course the risk that is important for a patient, and far outweighs the risk of anaesthesia (alone) in this situation.

Is there a chance that I may wake up during surgery?

The chance of a patient of being awake (ie: call events during an operation again) calculated to about 1,000 to be.

The risk that a patient will experience pain when awake is considerably smaller than this.

These risks are higher for operations such as caesarean section and emergency surgery in very ill patients, and the overall risk for routine surgery is so low.

Recent observation technique for the measurement of anesthetic agents and the activity of the brain during anesthesia care are likely to reduce the risk of being "aware" in the future.

Can I improve my health prior to surgery?

It is important to treat that disease that you have E.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, chest - pain - examined and measured before surgery.

You no routine medicines should continue, if not expressly not recommended.

Discomfort before the operation, should for example if you "Flu" or a breast infection, please inform your surgical team.

For routine surgery, your health should be "as good as you normally expect".

It is important to stop smoking at least six to eight weeks prior to surgery.

In this way, can recover the Airways and will help your breathing during and after anaesthesia.

Stop smoking, one or two days before operation is not very helpful.

If you are overweight reasonable weight loss can be useful, and it is beneficial for alcohol consumption reduce.

Where can I find more information about my surgery and anaesthesia?

Most hospitals have patient information leaflets for various operations.

For more information on all aspects of anaesthesia, the Royal College of anaesthetists website.

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