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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Anesthesia for children
A two year old boy is having surgery. Is there a test to see if he could be allergic to anesthesia? Thanks.
In the strict sense, "allergy" refers to your body's immune system reacting in a harmful way to a drug. In most cases there is no reason to worry about being "allergic to anesthesia". Allergic reactions to the commonly used anesthesia drugs are quite rare. Severe reactions are uncommon ("anaphylaxis") and if recognized early can be successfully treated.
Testing for allergy can be done. For example, tests for allergy to muscle relaxants is available. Testing for latex allergy (gloves) is done in patients who have a history of problems with gloves, balloons or other household items. In a healthy person, adult or child, with no previous history of reactions to anesthetic drugs, there is no reason to do any tests before anesthesia.
Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University