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Understanding the Risks of Anesthesia

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Updated June 10, 2014

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Heart Problems and Anesthesia

Over 25% of the patients who undergo surgery each year have heart disease, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. Heart problems, commonly referred to as cardiac disease, does not prevent surgery in most cases, but can increase the risk of surgery.

The type and severity of your heart disease is the primary indicator of the likelihood that surgery will trigger heart problems in the days after surgery. For example, if you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and take medication for it, you would be much more likely to have problems with atrial fibrillation after surgery than a patient who has no history of heart disease.

Problems that are the most likely to occur during and after surgery include high or low blood pressure, altered heart rhythms and in much rarer cases, heart attack.

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