3 Questions to Ask About Anesthesia

9 May

An increase in the use of shorter-acting anesthesia is one factor in the rise of outpatient surgery. “Gone are the days when people would be recuperating from the effects for up to 24 hours,” says Steven Gayer, M.D., of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Newer drugs such as propofol (Diprivan) and remifentanil (Ultiva) can wear off quickly. Remifentanil, for example can wear off in 6 to 7 minutes. But they also carry risks. One recent JAMA study for example, found that anesthesia administrated for a colonoscopy in creased the risk of complications such as aspiration pneumonia (caused by the inhalation of food, liquid, or vomit into the lungs) by almost 50 percent. So ask the anesthesiologist.

What is the best anesthesia I can use?  In many cases, local anesthesia or conscious sedation (where you’re awake but feel no pain) may suffice. These are less likely to cause nausea and vomit afterwards.

Who checks me during the procedure? It should be an anesthesiologist, a physician trained to administer anesthesia. He or she should accept your insurance, be board-certified, and have hospital admitting privileges.

What is your emergency protocol? Emergency medications, equipment, and procedures should be in place, along with a plan for transferring people to a hospital if necessary.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health April 2017

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