Anesthesia and the Older Adult
As you grow older, you are more likely to develop medical problems that require surgical treatment. It is the responsibility of your anesthesiologist to help prepare you for surgery and to take care of you during your operation and in the recovery room.
All anesthetic techniques have some risks associated with them. More important than your age are such factors as your medical condition and your type of surgery.
Various safety measures and precautions are taken in the delivery of your anesthesia care to help prevent unwanted events, just as you take certain safety precautions when driving a car or crossing the street. As a result, anesthesia today is safer than ever before for all age groups and for ambulatory outpatients as well as hospitalized patients. If you are an outpatient, it is essential that you arrange for a reliable adult to take you home because your coordination, decision-making ability and driving abilities may be somewhat impaired for up to 48 hours.
It is important for you to realize that you will be dependent on others for a period of time, but your independence will return.
Before the day of your operation, you will be given instructions about eating and drinking for a specified number of hours before your surgery. It may be extremely important for you to continue some of your medications such as those for heart, blood pressure and breathing problems. Other medications may need the dose adjusted or may be temporarily stopped to prevent unwanted reactions. Discuss the preoperative use of your current medications with your anesthesiologist or the person designated by the anesthesiologist to call or interview you before the day of surgery. It is important to follow all of these instructions carefully. They are designed to ensure a safe anesthetic.