Anaesthetic Complications - Medical Malpractice LawyersLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
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Anaesthetic Complications - Medical Malpractice
Anaesthesia can be local or general. A local anaesthesit has few complications, with the exception of possible nerve damage to the local area, infection or allergy to the medication used in local anesthesia.
On the other hand, general anaesthetic is tricky and fraught with possible complications. There can be complications of the endotracheal tube placement during intubation. This can include the breaking of teeth, dislocating the mandible during the intubation, intubating the esophagus, intubating just one bronchial tube, or putting too much pressure on the trachea during intubation. You can get edema of the bronchial tube or a sore throat from swelling of the throat. You can get spasm of the larynx or of the bronchial tree or malfunction of the endotracheal tube. This can include perforation of the endotracheal tube so that air leaks through the space between the tube and the airway.
You can get the endotracheal tube in just right but fail to get an adequate tidal volume of breathing. The chest wall can be restricted or there can be excessive abdominal movement, impairing respirations. If you see the use of accessory muscles to breathe, this can be a sign of respiratory distress and if you see cyanosis of the skin (a bluish discoloration of the skin), you can expect that there are problems breathing. The sites of obstruction include obstruction at the level of the lips, the tongue, above the glottis or at the level of the glottis. You can also have bronchospasm which impairs the flow of oxygen through the air passages. There can be a kinking of the endotracheal tube, which impairs oxygen flow.
Laryngospasm is the forceful involuntary spasm of the laryngeal musculature caused by stimulation of the nerves in the airway. You can treat it by giving a hundred percent oxygen or gentle CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) to the airways to get past the area of obstruction. Doctors can give succinylcholine in order to paralyse the laryngeal muscles so they don't go into spasm. You can also give racemic epinephrine and hydrocortisone to block the inflammation and swelling of the glottis and other areas of the respiratory tract.
Hypoxemia is one way that general anesthetic can go wrong. The level of oxygen in the bloodstream go lower than expected, which can be caused by not giving a high enough oxygen level, underventilating the patient, or increased use of oxygen by the tissues. Clinical signs of hypoxia include sweating, cardiac arrhythmias, hypotension (low blood pressure), slow heart rate, high blood pressure and cardiac arrest.
As you age, you can have an increased risk of developing complications of anaesthesia. Things like nervous system disorders, circulatory disorders and heart conditions make it more difficult to tolerate anesthesia. You need screening for these conditions prior to getting general anaesthesia.
Regional anaesthesia is a nerve block that anaesthetizes a large area of your body. It is often done on the arms and legs. It can cause nerve damage to the nerves supplying the area of the body and can cause residual numbness past the level of the block.
Spinal anaesthesia is when the spinal cord is anaesthetized and blocks all the nerves past the level of the anaesthetic. It can result in a spinal headache from leakage of the spinal fluid outside of the spinal canal. It occurs in about 1-2 percent of all individuals who have spinal anaesthesia. Doctors can use a blood patch, in which they inject blood that clots over the hole and stops the leakage and thus the headache.
Awareness of the surgery during cases of general anaesthesia is extremely rare. Doctors monitor the situation in order to make sure you cannot be awake during surgery. It can be a frightening experience, however, for those people who are still awake during general anaesthesia.
Malignant hypertension is a rare but deadly form of anaesthesia complications. It causes really high body temperature secondary to a reaction to the anaesthetic. It can be associated with succinylcholine injection as well as general anaesthetics.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here