8 doctors weighed in:
Is it harder for people with emphysema to get enough oxygen while they're under general anesthesia?
8 doctors weighed in

Dr. Karen Sibert
Anesthesiology
3 doctors agree
In brief: Not usually
Room air contains only 21% oxygen.
When a patient is under general anesthesia, we can increase the amount of oxygen breathed to 100% if necessary. So even with emphysema, it is rare to have problems receiving enough oxygen. However, patients with emphysema will have a harder time breathing on their own and recovering after surgery and general anesthesia.

In brief: Not usually
Room air contains only 21% oxygen.
When a patient is under general anesthesia, we can increase the amount of oxygen breathed to 100% if necessary. So even with emphysema, it is rare to have problems receiving enough oxygen. However, patients with emphysema will have a harder time breathing on their own and recovering after surgery and general anesthesia.
Dr. Karen Sibert
Dr. Karen Sibert
Thank
Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree
In brief: No
The emphysematous patient will actually get more oxygen under anesthesia than they usually do.
The problem comes on the postoperative period. This type of patient is very sensitive to any agents that depress their ventilation, this means most anesthetics and all pain medications. For this reason this type of patient will be watched closely on the pacu.

In brief: No
The emphysematous patient will actually get more oxygen under anesthesia than they usually do.
The problem comes on the postoperative period. This type of patient is very sensitive to any agents that depress their ventilation, this means most anesthetics and all pain medications. For this reason this type of patient will be watched closely on the pacu.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
Thank
Dr. Scott Mackinnon
Anesthesiology
In brief: Sometimes
COPD results in poorer lung function.
While under general anesthesia, a patient typically receives adequate oxygen, albeit less than a healthy athlete. The real challenge occurs during emergence, these patients typically require more supplementary oxygen, at least initially. Severe, critical COPD may be a containdication for general anesthesia.

In brief: Sometimes
COPD results in poorer lung function.
While under general anesthesia, a patient typically receives adequate oxygen, albeit less than a healthy athlete. The real challenge occurs during emergence, these patients typically require more supplementary oxygen, at least initially. Severe, critical COPD may be a containdication for general anesthesia.
Dr. Scott Mackinnon
Dr. Scott Mackinnon
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Mark Pack
Board Certified, Surgery
27 years in practice
3M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors