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Anesthesia – Awareness

February 28, 2021


"Especially under general anesthesia, part of the surgical requirement is for the patient not to move. So a muscle relaxant will be given during the procedure. If a patient does wake up during a procedure in which muscle relaxants are used, the patient will not be able to move to show that he or she is awake. However, along with waking up, come vital sign changes like a patient's heart rate and blood pressure will go up significantly. So rest assured, we take the responsibility of taking care of you very serious. And monitor every single patient very carefully to not let this or any other bad thing happen to you. There are a couple of circumstances where anesthesia awareness can even happen today. Those circumstances usually involve emergency surgeries, where there's a need to get a patient off to sleep very quickly to save that patient's life. These circumstances usually include trauma patients and emergent cesarean sections. Because of the fact that things have to happen very quickly, there is a risk of awareness as a sleeping medicine might not have taken full effect by the time the surgery starts, or only minimal sleeping medicine can be given due to a trauma patient's poor hemodynamic status to begin with. We are aware of these situations, and if this happens, we will discuss in detail afterwards why this happened and why it was important to get you off to sleep so quickly. However, we are usually able to give a medication that will make you not remember. Patients that went through anesthesia awareness can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and lifelong anxiety and mental health conditions, including depression. Studies have shown that when the circumstances that lead to awareness are discussed immediately after the surgery with the patient, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are usually not as severe."

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