A member asked:
how often do people die from anesthesia? ive read that its rare, but what does that really mean? im worried i could be one of those rare times and im not sure how to make sure im not.
6 doctor answers
Dr. Fernando Garcia answered
35 years experience Anesthesiology
I : I understand your concern. Anesthesia is a sort of black box to many. Most understand they will go to sleep and wake up, but not much about what happens in between. Since its inception in 1846, anesthesia has gone from a curiosity to a highly technical science. Although we still have a great deal to learn about its properties and effects, we understand a great deal more than we once did. The current death rate from anesthesia is about 5 deaths per 1 million anesthetics administered. Although this may seem like a very rare event, for the 5 individuals and their families it is catastrophic. Especially when it happens to a young and healthy individual having a routine operation. Current technology, medications and training make anesthesia very safe. Computers have created a revolution in monitoring that allows anesthesiologists to have a great deal of information at their disposal to use in the administration of your anesthetic. Medications have become increasingly safe and effective. They are very short acting so that you may have a procedure in the morning and be back to completely normal within 2 hours or less of the end of the anesthetic. Also important is the training and experience of your anesthesiologist. The web has made it very easy to find information regarding these. This brings me to the rare but known conditions that expose you to a higher level of risk than the average patient. There are several genetic conditions that require your attention. These include a condition known as malignant hyperthermia. This is a genetic defect that that can cause a deadly fever to arise during anesthesia with inhalational anesthetics. It is usually in families but may have been confused with something else by your descendants. Testing for this is expensive and not necessary. All qualified anesthesiologists know about and watch for signs of this condition. If you or your immediate family (brother, sister, mother, father) have previously had a general anesthetic without complications, it is highly unlikely to be a problem. The other condition you may read about is psuedocholinesterase difficiency. A mouth full! it is genetic condition where one is diffident in an enzyme that causes a "prolonged awakening" after anesthesia when a specific muscle relaxant, succinylcholine, is used. This is usually not deadly but can be traumatic for all involved. Overall, anesthesia is extremely safe today if given by a qualified, experienced and attentive anesthesiologist. Hope this helps.
Answered on Oct 3, 2016
Dr. Ernesto Pretto jr. answered
44 years experience Anesthesiology
Very rarely: Today anesthesia is among the safest specialties in medicine with a mortality rate directly related to the anesthesia itself approaching 1in 200, 000 anesthetics. The best way to reduce anxiety prior to surgery and anesthesia is to get to know your anesthesia doctor. In many ways he or she is the most important person in the room, because your life is in his/her hands during surgery.
Answered on Sep 15, 2015
Dr. Gary Ritholz answered
30 years experience Anesthesiology
1.1 per million: The anesthesia-related death rate was 1.1 per million population> anesthesia complications were the underlying cause in (10.9%) and a contributing factor in (89.1%). 46.6% of the anesthesia-related deaths were due to overdose of anesthetics; 79.7% from adverse effects of anesthetics ; 19.1% resulted from complications during pregnancy, labor, and puerperium; and 1.2% due from faulty intubation.
Answered on Feb 4, 2017
Dr. Gary Lawson answered
22 years experience Anesthesiology
Guarantees: Not withstanding all the statistics, no one can guarantee you a morbidity or mortality free surgery. To improve your risk- benefits, be forth coming with all your medical history , medication use ( otc and prescribed ). In the military we train our personel how to fight and stay alive. But not even the best trained are guaranteed survival.
Answered on Feb 4, 2013
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas answered
29 years experience Anesthesiology
Anesthesia is very: Safe. For those people with significant medical issues, steps can be taken to minimize the risk created by those problems. Make sure you have a complete history and physical with your anesthesiologist and bring up TUR concerns. He should be able to reassure you.
Answered on Jun 10, 2014
Dr. Richard Pollard answered
30 years experience Anesthesiology
I in 350,000 cases: It is not normal to ask someone to put you to sleep while another works on you. The risks are minimal, in fact i tell my patients that they are more likely to have problems driving to the hospital to have the surgeon. Talk to your anesthesiologist before the operation and they can give you medications to relieve you anxiety.
Answered on Apr 24, 2015
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