The problem with sleep apnea
and anesthesia is related
to the sedative effect that anesthesia has on
the body and its functions such as breathing, which can cause
potentially serious problems for those whose breathing is already
restricted due to obstructive sleep apnea.
problems with using anesthesia for sleep apnea sufferers has to do
with the fact that sedatives and anesthesia can cause the patient to
breathing during surgery. In some cases, they may
stop breathing, which, in extreme cases, makes it
for the patient to undergo an emergency tracheotomy to restore their
anesthesia itself can result in temporary obstructive
apnea while the patient is still under the effect of
meaning that they have temporary pauses in breathing while they are
still asleep due to the anesthesia.
Anesthesia is a sedative
which can relax the
muscles and cause the soft palate or tongue to fall back
and create a blockage
in the upper air passage at the back of the throat. Of course, for
patients who already have breathing problems while sleeping such as
obstructive sleep apnea, the use of anesthesia will only exacerbate these effects.
is why it is
so important to be open
and honest with your surgeon before undergoing
any surgical procedure, as sleep apnea and anesthesia requires special
precautions to be taken to ensure the patients safety.
the main problem is that majority of people suffering from
sleep apnea are completely unaware of their sleeping disorder and have
never been diagnosed. This is what makes sleep apnea and anesthesia
such a dangerous combination, as it can be difficult
for your surgeon to know if you have a sleeping disorder and prepare
for any possible complications arising from it.
general anesthesia is still typically administered on patients
with obstructive sleep apnea, knowing about it beforehand will allow
the surgeon and the anesthesiologist to help prepare themselves for any
risks or complications. This is why it is so important to be completely
honest with your surgeon when they are performing their pre-operative
are a few common factors which may help make it easier for your
surgeon to determine if you have sleep apnea, as there is a very common
patient profile. The typical person with sleep apnea is an overweight
male over the age of forty, but nonetheless, sleep apnea occurs in both
sexes and people of all ages, including children.
in order to
determine whether or not you may suffer from sleep apnea, your surgeon
or anesthesiologist will probably ask you a whole host of questions
about your sleeping patterns. These questions
can range from if you
snore, and if so, how frequent or loud your snoring is. They may also
ask you if anyone has ever told you that you stop breathing during
common question that they will ask is whether you easily
fall asleep during the day, or wake up feeling excessively
fatigued, and also whether you frequently wake up with headaches or an
overly dry mouth.
they may also ask whether or not you have
ever undergone a sleep
study, and in cases where they have a strong
feeling that you might have sleep apnea, they may actually insist on
you undergoing a sleep study before they will perform the surgery. All
of this will allow them to have a better overview of your health so
they can decide if you may have problems from sleep apnea and
anesthesia during surgery.
to Prepare for Complications Arising from Anesthesia for Sleep
your surgeon or anesthesiologist determines that you may have sleep
apnea, then in most cases the surgeon will decide to place a tube down
your throat and connect you to an artificial breathing machine or
respirator which will ensure that you remain breathing
procedure. In many cases, the tube will remain in place until you have
completely woken up from the anesthesia and recovered from its
you use a CPAP machine and are undergoing a procedure that requires
you to stay in the hospital overnight, then your doctor will most
likely recommend that you bring
your CPAP machine to the hospital with
you. In some cases, it may also be necessary to use your
in the post-op recovery room as well.
to Anesthesia for Sleep Apnea Patients
a surgeon or anesthesiologist believes a patient is at risk for
complications arising from sleep apnea, the anesthesiologist will most
likely avoid giving you
the standard pre-op sedative or narcotic.
Depending on the surgical procedure that you are having, the
anesthesiologist may also decide to only
give you a regional anesthetic
to numb the particular area where the surgery is taking place.
especially useful in surgeries being performed on the limbs, and even
some abdominal surgeries. For procedures taking place below the waist,
your anesthesiologist may decide to give
you an epidural or spinal
type of anesthetic is most commonly used for women
giving birth, however for patients with sleep apnea, it can also be
effective for almost any surgery taking place below the ribcage, as it
will effectively numb the entire lower half of the body.
is one major problem involved with either an epidural or with regional
anesthesia, and this is the fact that the patient will be fully awake
throughout the procedure.
you decide to go this route, you need to
be aware of the fact that you may hear hammering, drilling, or other
discomforting noises during the surgery.
no matter what you decide to do, anesthesia for sleep apnea
patients can be quite
safe as long as the surgeon is aware of the
problem and all precautions are taken.
to Sleep Apnea Surgery
to the Snoring