Anesthesia has never been safer, but that doesn’t mean risks aren’t still involved
In the U.S., over 100 million operations and procedures are performed every year using anesthesia. While it’s true that it has advanced and become safer than ever before, many people still overlook the serious risks involved with anesthesia. That’s why the American Society of Anesthesiologists is urging every person scheduled for a procedure or surgery to have a conversation with their anesthesiologist about their anesthesia delivery plan ahead of time.
Here are three things everyone should know about anesthesia to ensure both safety and comfort:
- Sedation or anesthesia – Depending on the procedure, it’s good to know whether sedation or anesthesia is the right fit. There are various types of anesthesia and sedation, and understanding their differences is critical before any surgery.
- Surgery risks – Preexisting health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and certain lung conditions like asthma could increase the risks of surgery and anesthesia. Discussing these, as well as any history of adverse or allergic reactions to anesthesia, is important for patient safety.
- Anesthesia and the elderly – For people 65 and older, surgical risks can increase dramatically. A recent topic of discussion is how the aging brain is more vulnerable to the side effects of anesthesia. Two common conditions tied to anesthesia and the elderly are postoperative delirium and postoperative cognitive dysfunction, or POCD. Planning ahead of time with the patient, the anesthesiologist and a patient’s caregiver could decrease the potential risks involved with anesthesia.
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