Dr. Dhar returns today to discuss what you need to know about asthma and anesthesia.
Asthma is certainly a prevalent disease that affects all age groups. It can be a soley childhood ailment or it can appear in adult life. Fortunately there have been great advances in asthma medications in the past 10 years. The number of asthma attacks among sufferers can be decreased provided they stick to the regimen prescribed. It is essential to continue taking asthma medications up until the time of surgery. Do provide your anesthesiologist with a full list of your asthma medications, how often you take inhalers, and let the doctor know if you recently had an asthma attack.
Anesthesiologists have special techniques to prevent an asthma attack while under surgery. A general anesthetic usually involves placing a breathing tube in the windpipe. But in fact, if you have an asthma attack while under general anesthesia, the anesthetic gas actually helps expand air passages! You may also have the option to get a regional anesthetic (nerve block, spinal, epidural) which avoids placing any breathing device in the windpipe.
You can read more about Dr. Dhar's new book, Before the Scalpel: What Everyone Should Know About Anesthesia at Tell Me Press.