Preparing for Anaesthesia

People with Medical Conditions

For patients with chronic medical conditions preparation for your anaesthetic and operation is essential. If you have any of the following conditions it is advisable to make contact with your anaesthetist as early as possible before your operation.

  1. Heart disease.
  2. Lung disease such as severe asthma or emphysema.
  3. Kidney disease.
  4. Severe arthritis.
  5. Any other conditions that you see a specialist for.

It is important to have the details of any specialist such as your cardiologist available when you contact your anaesthetist so that they can chase any reports or investigations you have had done. We may even ask you to make an appointment to see them before your operation.

In some cases if your medical conditions are significant we may organise a consultation with you prior to your operation so that we can better assess your needs and better plan for your anaesthetic. This can generally be done at the hospital you will be going to or the surgeon’s rooms.

Your Medications

In general you should continue all of your usual medications your GP has prescribed for you. Some exceptions to this may be anti inflammatory agents, aspirin or blood thinners such as warfarin. If you take any of these medications please discuss this with your surgeon as they will decide whether or not you should stop these medications.

If you are taking any herbal preparations or vitamins it is advisable to stop these 10 days prior to surgery. This is because some herbal preparations can cause significant bleeding during surgery or interact with anaesthetic drugs.

If you have any concerns about any of your medications please make contact with your anaesthetist.

Previous Anaesthetics

If you have had a previous anaesthetic and had any problems with it, please contact your anaesthetist as in many cases any concerns you may have can be sorted out with a simple phone call. Anaesthetics can be tailored to an individual and just because you had problems with one previously does not necessarily mean that we can’t alter you next anaesthetic to make it a better experience. Part of your anaesthetic consultation is to discuss this, as every anaesthetic is a prescription of specific medications that your anaesthetist selects as the safest for you.

Smoking

Smoking causes many deleterious effects to your general health. It has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease, chronic lung disease, vascular disease, many forms of cancer, early aging and death. Smoking adversely affects your operation and anaesthetic in the following ways

  1. Carbon monoxide from your cigarettes decreases the ability of your blood to carry oxygen during your operation.
  2. Smoking increases your chances of having acute complications such as wheezing, coughing and respiratory distress.
  3. Smoking also places you at greater risk of developing post operative lung infections and pneumonia.
  4. You will commonly have a productive cough for several days after your operation.
  5. Smoking decreases your body’s wound healing ability, for some forms of surgery such as breast reconstructive surgery smoking greatly increases the risk of having an unsuccessful reconstruction. This can be so significant that some surgeons may choose not to perform some sorts of reconstructions in patients who are currently smoking.
  6. Smoking increases the chance of post operative cardiovascular complications such as stroke and heart attack

Whilst ideally you should stop smoking 6 weeks prior to your operation, stopping at any time prior will be beneficial for your over all health and well being.

For more information about the College of Anaesthetists smoking guidelines please click on the following link:

http://www.anzca.edu.au/resources/professional-documents/ps12.html

For more information about quitting smoking please follow the following link:

http://www.quitnow.info.au/