Five Things You Should Know About Anesthesia and Lyme Disease

A recent article in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists AANA Journal describes some possible side effects of anesthesia on patients with Lyme disease. Keep reading to learn more about the issues the AANA wants you to be aware of or follow the story at lymedisease.org.
1. Share during Pre-op:

During pre-operative interviews and assessments, patients should alert anesthesia professionals if they have Lyme disease. Similarly, a patient should let their professional know if a patient has recently been in an area with a risk of Lyme disease. These include areas such as hiking paths where ticks commonly dwell. Lyme disease may not present obvious symptoms at first so it is better to err on the side of caution. The choice of anesthetic should be discussed with a professional provider.

2. General Anesthesia May Reduce Immune Response:

General anesthesia can suppress the immune system. Specifically, certain chemicals and compounds present in anesthetics may alter the functions of white blood cells. This decreases the body’s ability to fight off disease. This could temporarily make the patient more vulnerable.

3. Systemic Infections:

Patients with a disease that affects the full body, including Lyme disease, should be careful when considering spinal or epidural anesthetics. The combination of a systemic infection and injection of anesthetic may introduce agents of infection into the central nervous system. The AANA advises special caution in this area if a patient is in the early stages of a disease. Symptoms involving the central nervous system may not have become obvious during early stages.

4. Be Aware of statistics and Evidence:

The Centers for Disease Control collects a large sum of useful information every year. Starting in 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has received 20,000-30,000 confirmed reports of infection every year.

5. Where Lyme Disease Stands:

Several diseases must be reported according to legal standards. Lyme disease is one of these disease. Furthermore, Lyme disease is the fifth most common disease that requires reporting by law. In the United States, Lyme disease is the most common infection reported that spreads between living beings.

The ANAA also points out that any disease or medical condition can affect a patient’s experience with anesthesia and surgery.

The ANAA strongly suggests and supports the concepts of openness with a patient’s anesthesia provider. Any detail could be important. Allergies, health conditions, and drug and alcohol use of any kind are also all specifically mentioned as topics useful to discuss with an anesthesia provider to ensure a safe procedure.


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