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Tips to Prepare for Surgery

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) suggest several ways for patients to become better prepared for surgery.

  • Pay close attention to the healthcare professionals who will be delivering your care and provide them with essential information about your health status, history, and habits.
  • Work with your surgeon and CRNA to optimize your health before surgery. Stop taking all but necessary, approved prescriptions prior to surgery to avoid complications and increase your odds of a safe outcome. If you have had or currently have a substance use disorder, it is crucial that you inform your CRNA. Anesthesia professionals need to know this information to consider possible drug interactions that could impact your safety during and after surgery.
  • Stop alternative and complementary medicine use at least two weeks prior to surgery to prevent possible side effects. Some herbal medicines can create unsafe complications, such as dangerously high or low blood pressure, during and after surgical procedures.
  • Research your family medical history. Have you or a family member had surgical complications, such as reactions to certain types of anesthesia? If so, let your CRNA know so he or she can take extra precautions.
  • Talk to your CRNA about any existing medical conditions. If you have diabetes, asthma, allergies to medicines or to latex, or any other health concerns, be sure to share this information prior to your surgery.
  • Learn about the types of anesthesia and which one(s) will be used for your surgery. What are the potential side effects to be particularly aware of or that might signal the need to get in touch with your primary care physician, surgeon, or CRNA afterward? Knowing this information before surgery will allow you to be prepared if you experience any side effects.
  • Above all, be honest with your surgeon and CRNA so they can provide the best surgical experience possible and advocate for you throughout your procedure.

For more information about anesthesia patient safety, visit www.aana.com/brochures.

This article was adapted from information provided by AANA.

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