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What is general anaesthesia?

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th April 2010 03:00 AM

GENERAL anaesthesia is the type in which drugs are given through the veins or by an inhaled gas through a mask or a small tube gently inserted down the trachea or lungs to induce full unconsciousness, relaxation and a painless state to facilitate surgery or any medical intervention.

GENERAL anaesthesia is the type in which drugs are given through the veins or by an inhaled gas through a mask or a small tube gently inserted down the trachea or lungs to induce full unconsciousness, relaxation and a painless state to facilitate surgery or any medical intervention.

Last week, Dr. Arthur Kwizera discussed the safety of anaesthesia. This week, he brings you general anaesthesia.

GENERAL anaesthesia is the type in which drugs are given through the veins or by an inhaled gas through a mask or a small tube gently inserted down the trachea or lungs to induce full unconsciousness, relaxation and a painless state to facilitate surgery or any medical intervention.

When the decision to operate is made, a patient is scheduled for a pre-surgical or anaesthetic appointment with the anaesthesiologist.

This article will discuss the pre-surgical, induction, maintenance and emergence/recovery period will follow in weekly series.

The pre-surgical
This appointment serves a dual purpose. First, it is a chance to gather important information about the patient and his medical condition in order to ensure his safety and comfort.

In addition, it is a chance for the patient to ask questions about what is going to happen, make decisions about options and give informed consent.

l Informed consent means that the patient) is presented with the options for treatment, the common and serious risks and expected benefits of each option and what the likely outcomes of the treatment (or of no treatment) are.

Informed consent is given in writing and requires a signature except in emergencies).

Depending on the outcome of the physical examination, a few labaratory and radiological tests maybe ordered in order to determine the patient’s fitness for anaesthesia and the risks.

Common tests include a chest x-ray, resting electrocardiogram, echocardiography, liver function, kidney function and lung function tests.
On the day before surgery, the patient may be asked to avoid food for six to eight hours.

This is to prevent the return of stomach contents that may go into the lungs and cause respiratory failure.

The patient may be given certain drugs as part of pre-anaesthesia medication to prevent complications during and after surgery.

On the day of surgery, the patient will be dressed appropriately and taken to the operating room on a trolley or wheelchair.

Next week, we shall discuss the induction of anaesthesia.

The writer is a lecturer at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University
Send your questions to doctor@newvision.co.ug

What is general anaesthesia?

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