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Can Anesthesia affect your heart?

Updated at: Sep 20, 2017
Heart Health
Written by: Onlymyhealth Staff WriterPublished at: Sep 20, 2017
Can Anesthesia affect your heart?

Anesthesia is a common practice for surgeries and reducing pain, and they can have good and bad effects on the heart.

In order to manage pain we have something called anesthesia, thanks to medical science. The general anesthesia is more commonly produced by a combination of anesthetics that include intravenous drugs and inhaled gasses. This general anesthesia is the one that induces deep sleep and is used during surgery, during this type of anesthesia the patient’s vital signs are monitored carefully.

There is also the regional anesthesia which is used to anesthetize large parts of the body like arms and legs, and this type does not induce any deep sleep, but cane surely cause sleepiness. Anesthesia is widely used, but anyhow there could be some risks involved.

Here are some possible effects that may be good and bad


General anesthesia could cause your heart beats to become irregular, these are known as arrhythmia. This condition happens because the flow of blood is insufficient in order to meet the body’s needs, and the heart rate thus becomes irregular as the heart begins to adjust to compensate. The interaction that happens between anesthesia and other medications during this time could have a negative effect on the regularity of the heart rate. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that it is vital to disclose any medication or condition that may interact with anesthesia and consequently affect heart rate.

Improve the cardiac function and managing pain

There is a type of regional anesthesia known as spinal anesthesia that improves the heart function. The current data indicates that this spinal anesthesia can in fact lower hypertension and so increase the contractions of heart muscles. This effect is observed when the spinal anesthesia is used in tandem with the general one. If this is used continuously after a heart surgery then it may reduce the pain that is experienced in the heart area.

Myocardial infarction

The usage of anesthesia can cause myocardial infarction and the effect is not considered to be very common. An anesthesia induced heart attack can typically occur in those who have some pre existing heart conditions or a history of heart attacks. If you can uncover the medical history or the heart condition before a surgery then this can help anesthesiologists take the necessary precautions so as to further lower the risk of myocardial infarction.

Tachycardia and lower blood pressure

The use of anesthesia can cause your blood pressure to drop considerably, and the drop in your blood pressure then causes your hart to beat faster. This condition of your heart beating faster is known as tachycardia, and occurs to compensate for the reduced blood pressure. The increased heart rate and the dropping of blood pressure can then have some serious repercussions if it is not alleviated and stabilized.

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