Before Anesthesia

The Patient's Active Role Makes a Difference

 
 
Anesthesia is a MajorPart of Your Surgery
Each year, millions of people in the United States undergo some form of medical treatment requiring anesthesia. In the hands of qualified anesthesia professionals such as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), anesthesia is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during nearly every type of medical procedure.
 
All anesthesia care is provided with the highest degree of professionalism, including constant monitoring of every important body function. As changes occur in your reactions to anesthesia, your anesthesia professional responds with modifications of the anesthetic to ensure your safety and comfort.
 
In addition to their role in the procedure itself, anesthesia professionals make many preparations for you before surgery. You can—and should—take an active role in
these preparations by communicating and cooperating with your anesthesia professional and surgeon.

There are Several Kinds of Anesthesia

The one chosen for you is based on factors such as your physical condition, the nature of the surgery, and your reactions to medications. Frank and open discussion with your anesthesia professional is key in the selection of the best anesthetic for you.
 
In particular, you must speak freely and follow instructions closely regarding your intake of medications, food, or beverages before anesthesia. Such substances can react negatively with anesthetic drugs and chemicals.
 
Different Types of Patients or Procedures May Require Different Types of Anesthesia
Pregnant patients should prepare before the onset of labor for the possibility of having an anesthetic, even if a natural childbirth is planned. During pregnancy, keep accurate records of allergies, high blood pressure, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications. The use of drugs, including recreational drugs and alcohol, can increase the risk of anesthetic complications for both mother and baby.

Older adults go through complex physical changes while aging that may affect their body’s response to anesthesia. You or your family can assist your anesthesia professional by providing a detailed list of all medications, including aspirin, taken regularly. Patients with hereditary disorders, such as diabetes and sickle cell anemia, need special attention. These conditions can be managed properly if their anesthesia professional knows about them before a procedure.
 
Children should be specially prepared for anesthesia, and for surgery in general.  Allow them to bring favorite toys along for their stay. Make frequent references to things children will enjoy after the procedure. If possible, take children on a hospital tour and let them talk with hospital personnel, particularly their anesthesia professional.
 
Ambulatory care allows you to go home the same day as your surgery. It is important, however, to provide the same accurate information during the preoperative interview. In addition, preparations should be made before ambulatory surgery for another adult to accompany you to the healthcare facility, drive you home, and monitor your recovery.

Remember . . .

Speak frankly. Ask questions. Follow instructions. Provide your anesthesia professional with a medical history. And notify your anesthesia professional or surgeon immediately of any change in your physical condition prior to surgery. Communication and cooperation are essential to the anesthesia process.
 
The preanesthesia questionnaire is used to help prepare you for the anesthesia process and determine the best anesthetic technique for you. You will be specifically asked about your medical history, current medications, prior operations, and allergies.
 

 CRNAs

 
​A Tradition of Care
 
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are anesthesia specialists who administer more than 32 million anesthetics to patients in the United States each year. The nurse anesthesia specialty has a history of nearly 150 years.
 
CRNAs represent a commitment to high standards in a demanding field. The educational requirements to become a CRNA are extensive. Prior to applying for admission to a graduate program in nurse anesthesia, a candidate must have a four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing or other appropriate baccalaureate degree, a current license as a registered nurse, and a minimum of one year of acute care nursing experience. The master’s degree nurse anesthesia program itself is 24-36 months, depending on university requirements. CRNAs are board certified, and mandatory continuing education is required for recertification every two years.
 
Nurse anesthetists provide high-quality anesthesia services combined with personal concern for the health and welfare of patients. They are happy to assist you and offer information about what to expect with your anesthesia.