What causes some patients to wake up during surgery?

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Tim Bennett

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Tim Bennett asked the Naked Scientists:

I recently watched a film in which the main character suffers 'anesthetic awareness' during an operation.

Is this a real condition and if so what causes it, how common is it and what exactly does the unlucky patient experience?

Thanks.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 31/10/2008 23:34:55 by chris »

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Offline chris

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Re: What causes some patients to wake up during surgery?
« Reply #1 on: 31/10/2008 23:34:37 »
Hi Tim

usually this occurs when the level of volatile or drug being administered is insufficient to "maintain" anaesthesia; the problem is magnified by the fact that patients are often given neuromuscular paralysing agents during surgery to facilitate manipulation and ventilation, which can mask the problem and prevent the patient from alerting anyone as to their awake status.

Thankfully this is a very rare situation and attention to other indices - such as heart rate, blood pressure and pupil response can usually give an anaesthetist plenty of information about a patients depth of sedation.

Chris
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx

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Offline shivers

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What causes some patients to wake up during surgery?
« Reply #2 on: 29/09/2009 16:25:43 »
hiya tat happened me when i was about eight or nine i was getting my ears pinned back and i woke up during the operation. i cant remember much but i just found out recently tat its a very uncommon thing to happen.

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Offline JnA

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What causes some patients to wake up during surgery?
« Reply #3 on: 29/09/2009 16:31:56 »
A friend of mine told me that anaesthesiology was 10% science and 90% sheer terror.