Muscular diseases have been known to cause a variety of problems during and after anesthesia. The complications of anesthesia in patients with known muscular diseases can be divided into two groups.
Types of Muscular Disease
The first and most feared is one in which anesthetic agents are known to cause a variety of problems such as rhabdomyolisis (destruction of muscle), increased potassium levels, cardiac arrest and malignant hyperthermia. In addition, there are the those in which the usual general side effects of anesthetics become very pronounced and lead to severe respiratory and cardiac depression.
It is very important to determine what type of muscular disorder exists preoperatively because it helps the anesthesia provider prevent any possible complication. Today there are so many ways of providing a safe anesthetic that we can easily avoid any of the anesthetic techniques that would interact with the muscular condition of the patient. In addition during the anesthetic, it will be important to perform accurate monitoring of the EKG, oxygen levels and alveolar ventilation. This will give the anesthesia provider the information needed to prevent or treat problems.
How do I know if I have a muscular disease to worry about?
Most people will know from previous anesthetic experiences as a child. Others will know based on a family history. If you have a question make sure you discuss this with your anesthesia provider. There is always a way of getting around this issue.