Anesthesia & the Heart

    NOTE: Material on this page does not constitute medical advice. Consult with your physician concerning specific medical conditions.

    Anesthesia and your heart

    Many patients presenting for anesthesia and surgery have health issues that affect their heart and may affect anesthesia care.  While anesthesia is generally very safe for patients with most forms of heart disease, you anesthesiologist can help determine which anesthetic techniques best reduce risks for you during surgery, and what things you may have to do before surgery to reduce your risks.  Your anesthesiologist will want to know if you see a cardiologist and if so, when your last visit occurred.  Does your cardiologist know you are considering surgery?

    Do you have any new symptoms such as chest pain, particularly if it happens during exertion or emotional excitement?  Do you get short of breath with minimal exertion or during the middle of the night?  Do you suffer from episodes of irregular or rapid heart beat (palpitations)? If you are experiencing any of these health changes, you should contact your primary care physician or cardiologist before contemplating surgery.

    Examples of medical conditions that affect the heart and may therefore affect anesthetic management include:

    High blood pressure (hypertension)
    Blockages in the arteries of the heart (coronary artery disease)
    Chest pain due to the heart (angina)
    Having a coronary artery stent
    Heart murmur or valvular heart disease , particularly aortic stenosis , mitral regurgitation,  mitral valve prolapse or other valvular heart disease
    Problems with heart rhythm
    Having a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator
    “Holes” in the heart from birth (ASD, VSD)
    Other birth defects of the heart (congenital heart disease)