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Anesthesia

Pre-Anesthesia Testing

06/21/2010

Question:

I have ben under anesthesia 2 times. Both times my blood pressure fell dangerously low. The doctor thought they were going to lose me. I have to have heart surgery in August and I`m really scared about the anesthesia. Is there anything I can do prior to then? I have mitro valve prolapse.

Answer:

Mitral valve prolapse is an abnormality of the heart valve positioned between two heart chambers - the left atrium and left ventricle. Severe mitral valve prolapse can cause mitral regurgitation. This means the mitral valve regurgitates (becomes "leaky") so blood flows can flow in a reverse direction through the mitral valve when the left ventricle contracts. When severe, the mitral valve may need to be replaced surgically.

Patients with severe heart valve disease of any sort can develop very low blood pressure or other severe circulatory problems during anesthesia. Cardiac anesthesiologists (those who specialise in providing anesthesia for heart surgery) anticipate these problems and avert harm through the use of special monitoring, suitable anesthesia drugs and doses, and support for the circulation.

Your anesthesiologist should be well aware of the issues relating to your problem. Your role is to ask questions, take your heart medications, and try to get in the best possible shape before your major operation. This would include getting attention for any other medical problems you might have, not smoking, getting good nutrition, and doing as much exercise as your doctors permit you to do.

For more information about mitral valve prolapse, see the links below.

Related Resources:

What Is Mitral Valve Prolapse? - NIH

For more information:

Go to the Anesthesia health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Gareth S Kantor, MD Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University