CARDIAC ANESTHESIA QUESTIONS:
What type of anesthesia will I have?
There are four basic types of anesthesia:
If you are undergoing a diagnostic or therapeutic cardiac procedure in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab or Electrophysiology Lab, you may require only local anesthesia and/or sedation. There are varying levels of sedation, but often you will be given a sedative that produces a “twilight sleep,” in which you are not unconscious, but may fall asleep and have little or no recollection of events.
Will I be asleep during my entire operation?
If you are having general anesthesia, you will not be conscious (aware) during your entire operation. You will not experience pain or other sensations and cannot be aroused until and unless the cardiac anesthesiologist chooses to wake you. Be assured that throughout your entire operation, your cardiac anesthesiologist continually monitors and adjusts your level of anesthesia so that you are always adequately anesthetized. However, you may be aware (but sedated), during pre-surgical preparations, so you may have some recollection of the operating suite after your surgery is over.
Will I need a blood transfusion?
You may need a blood transfusion. Today’s blood supply is extremely safe, but the risk is not zero. If you have any specific concerns about this issue, please discuss them with your anesthesia provider.
Will I experience a lot of pain after my operation?
Some discomfort after a major surgical procedure is to be expected. But strong, effective painkilling drugs are routinely provided to cardiac surgical patients so they can be as comfortable as possible. Patients and families should be reassured to know that the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit staff members are very aware of the importance of effective pain management and very experienced at managing patients’ pain.
Will my family members be kept informed about my status during my operation? When will they be able to see me?
Your surgical team keeps families informed of the patient’s status at regular intervals during a cardiac operation. Your family members may visit you as soon as you are moved to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit or (for children) the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
When and where will I wake up after my operation?
When you wake up after your operation depends on many factors, including the type of surgery you undergo. Most likely, you will awaken in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.