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Anesthesia

Problems with anesthesia

04/14/2008

Question:

Many years ago I underwent a hernia repair. I remember when I woke up after the surgery the anesthesologist told me if I ever underwent surgery again I should tell the anestesiologist that I have a bad reaction to the drug and they should use the "other" anesthesia on me. Years later I asked the anesthesologist that was working on my pregnant wife and he told me I should get tested and he said that the test involves a biopsey of some leg muscle. What exactly is it that I have and how dangerous is it.

Answer:

It is not at all clear what you have. There is no single drug used during anesthesia, rather a mix of different medicines and techniques. More information about the anesthesia used during your hernia repair is needed.

The anesthesiologist taking care of your wife was thinking of a rare but important condition called malignant hyperthermia. This condition runs in families and can cause fatal reactions to general anesthesia in which a muscle relaxant called succinylcholine, or gas anesthetics like isoflurane or sevoflurane are used. For more information look on this website or check with the Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the US (MHAUS).

For more information:

Go to the Anesthesia health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Gareth S Kantor, MD Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University