Reaction to Anesthesia




Allergic reactions to the medications used for anesthesia are extremely rare, and are usually not life-threatening. Death from an allergic reaction while in the care of an anesthesiologist occurs in less than one in a million cases. This type of reaction is an emergency that anesthesiologists are trained to identify and address.

If you are concerned about a reaction to anesthesia:

  • Discuss your medial history with your anesthesiologist, including any problems you may have experienced with previous anesthetics.
  • Ask your anesthesiologist about the type of anesthesia that will be administered, the duration of the anesthesia and the associated risks for a person with your medical profile.
  • Check the credentials of your anesthesiologist.
  • Work to be in your best possible health prior to surgery.

Over the past 30 years, anesthesiologists have advanced the field of anesthesiology due to improvements in patient safety and other innovations that have paved the way for modern medical procedures. These advances have led to a dramatic decrease in anesthesia-related deaths over the past 25 years, from two deaths per 10,000 anesthetics administered to fewer than 5 deaths per million.[1] 

[1] Committee on Quality of Healthcare in America, IoM: To err is human, building a safer health system. Edited by Kohn L, Corrigan J, Donaldson M. Washington, National Academy Press, 1999, p 241.


Helpful Links

What is Anesthesiology

Total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery.


Anesthesia Topics Quick Links

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In Case of Emergency

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Come Prepared

Ask your anesthesiologist questions about what to expect before, during, and after your procedure.


The ASA does not employ physician anesthesiologists on staff and cannot respond to patient inquiries regarding specific medical conditions or anesthesia administration. Please direct any questions related to anesthetics, procedures or treatment outcomes to the patient’s anesthesiologist or general physician.