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Asthma and general anesthesia

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Old 05-02-2008, 11:19 PM   #1
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Asthma and general anesthesia

My asthma is not well controlled. Only recently diagnosed, I've had some trouble getting it under control. Today was the last day of a six day course of prednisone. Latest bad attack--the one that brought me to the ER--was brought on by bacterial bronchitis/sore throat combined with yard that I didn't even realize I shouldn't have been doing. Had a more mild attack last night.

And earlier this week I was scheduled for shoulder surgery for May 12. General anesthesia. I'm very anxious to get the surgery done, since I've prevented from doing it for so long--years--for various reasons, and the chance to finally do it is great.

But I've been reading that general anesthesia can be quite problematic with asthma, particularly if it is not well-controlled. My surgeon doesn't seem concerned. No one commented or gave any indication of concern when I listed off the ER visit, the prednisone, the advair, the albuterol, the erythromycin, etc.

I'm getting the idea that this is just unwarranted jitters on my part, and yet I also don't want to run into a situation of a simple outpatient surgery turning into a major medical event because no one bothered to take my asthma into account in the planning of this thing. I've sure mentioned it enough, but considering how insanely hyperreactive my airway has been, I can't imagine that the procedures involved in general anesthetic wouldn't cause problems.

I just dunno. Any reassuring words or cautionary tales or experiences?

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Old 05-03-2008, 07:02 AM   #2
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Re: Asthma and general anesthesia

I've had 3 surgeries since I contracted asthma 12 years ago - all with general anesthesia. The first one was a foot surgery and they did nothing different. The second was a different foot surgery (OK - I jog and I need a bionic left foot) and they gave me a breathing treatment in pre-op. The third time I had my gallbladder out and they had me bring my albuterol and take 2 puffs in pre-op. All 3 surgeries came out fine and I had no issues while under.

Old 05-03-2008, 07:10 AM   #3
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Re: Asthma and general anesthesia

I have had (2) surgeries in the past few years - a hysterectomy and my gallbladder removed.

They did take my asthma into account - and the anethesia dr. said that because at the time I was well controlled they would just watch me and if I needed a treatment they had all the stuff there to administer it.

Both times for about (2) weeks after my surgeries my asthma kicked up. Needed to use my rescue a lot more than normal and do intense breathing exercises.

I would mention it just one more time to be on the safe side and let them know of your anxiety. Just so you can gain some peace of mind.

Good luck to you.


Old 05-03-2008, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: Asthma and general anesthesia

I have had a rough winter with my asthma as well. Although I have gotten it under better control since the weather has warmed up. I am on Albuterol, Advair 500 and Singulair.

I had shoulder surgery on April 3. I brought up my asthma concerns with my Surgeon, his PA and with my PCP in advance. I was particularly concerned because I was on antibiotics just the week before for a sinus infection (4th time since Nov.) and I had recently finished a round of oral steriods for my asthma. All of my doctors indicated I should be fine. They had me bring my Albuterol with me when I had my surgery. I also spoke to the anesthesia doctor before while I was there. I had no problems during or after surgery with my asthma.

I know everyone is different, but hopefully this will provide you with some reassurance.

Good luck with your surgery.

p.s. I am also extremely happy I had the shoulder surgery. I am still healing and in PT, but I am getting back some ROM that I haven't had in over a year.

Old 08-24-2008, 12:49 PM   #5
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Re: Asthma and general anesthesia

I know this is a little old of a thread but wanted to reply anyway in case there is someone out there who might be helped by hearing about this. I had surgery under general anesthesia about 11 days ago and prior to my surgery they told me to bring my albuterol with me and I'd use 2 puffs prior to it. Unfortunately due to my extreme anxiety about the surgery I forgot my inhaler at home. I was doing fine though so they didn't worry about it. However when I woke up from surgery I was quite short of breath and struggling some. They must have known that though because they left the oxygen mask on for quite some time after. I don't know why I was struggling when I woke up but the first thought I had was 'my asthma must be flaring up'. The surgery went well though and other than that minor issue in the recovery room all did seem well. My advice would be to remember your albuterol though. I think next time if I ever have to be put under for something again I might ask for a nebulizer treatment prior in case my anxiety causes me to forget my inhaler again. I probably should have asked my husband to remember it. LOL go figure I'd forget it.

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Old 08-27-2008, 05:43 PM   #6
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Re: Asthma and general anesthesia

Personally unless it's life threatening I'll never have surgery again...I've had 3 ..2 -Distal Clavical Resection (shoulder surgery-open type) and an emergency Appendectumy(sp?) for a burst Appendix. With each surgery I've found it harder to come out from under the anasthetic ..during the last one the Appendctumy the person that was there while I was coming threw said I almost died ...every time I came through I slid back under and it was harder to get though again ....honestly it felt like drowning......And yes they had me take my puffers (and knew about my asthma wich is fairy severe)but they( the puiffers) didn't do the trick. And it took months for my lungs to get back to a normal for me state

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