Sleep and Anesthesia
Anesthestic medications block the feeling of pain and other sensations . This allows patients to undergo surgery and other procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience. During anesthesia the brain is unconscious, not asleep, and the muscles of the body are relaxed. Anesthesia may involve all or part of your body and is divided into four major types:
About Sleep and Anesthesia
Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea (a frequent closing of the throat while sleeping) can increase the risk of complications before, during and after surgery due to the effects of anesthesia. Sedatives, analgesics and anesthetic agents all contribute to further weakness in the airways at the back of the throat, sometimes leading to serious breathing and cardiac problems. One surgical research study showed that there were serious complications in almost one in four of the patients with sleep apnea.
If you are going to be having surgery or any procedure requiring sedating anesthesia, and you have symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important that you discuss this with your doctor before your surgery. Equally, if you have trouble sleeping after surgery, ask your doctor about the medications you are taking.
Chung SA, Yuan H, Chung F. A systemic review of obstructive sleep apnea and its implications for anesthesiologists. Anesth Analg. 2008 Nov;107(5):1543-63. PMID: 18931212
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