Anesthetizing the Elderly: What to Know About Geriatric Anesthesia & Health
It is important to understand the risks associated with anesthetizing the elderly. The risks of anesthesia can be increased in older patients due to a variety of factors including changes in organ function, age-related physical changes and medications. With proper precautions and monitoring, geriatric anesthesia and health can be carefully managed and the risks minimized.
Age Related Physiological Changes
The body of an elderly patient goes through numerous changes due to normal aging that can increase the risks associated with anesthetizing them. Loss of muscle mass and reduced flexibility can make it more difficult to place certain types of breathing tubes and introduce other breathing assistance during surgery. Decreased renal and hepatic function can increase the risks associated with certain medications, as well as the possibility of drug side effects and complications with anesthesia.
When preparing an elderly patient for an anesthetic, it is important to be aware of the existing health problems. Many of the risks associated with anesthesia can be minimized or prevented if the patient is prepared prior to their procedure. This includes a thorough review of medications, optimising the patient’s health and nutrition, identifying any potential health problems, and optimising the airway prior to anesthesia.
It is important to take into account the age-related physiological changes when selecting an anesthetic. For some elderly patients, a regional anesthetic may be preferable to a general anesthetic. A regional anesthetic is also preferable when the risk of aspiration or breathing difficulties is increased.
Monitoring During Anesthesia
Elderly patients are more prone to certain issues during an anesthetic and it is important to have proper monitoring in place. This includes monitoring of blood pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, heart rate, and other vital signs. It is also important to monitor for electrolyte imbalances, especially with medications that affect the kidney.
Careful monitoring and management of post-operative complications is essential for the elderly patient. This includes monitoring for any adverse reactions to medications, monitoring of vital signs, pain control, and emotional support.
When anesthetizing an elderly patient, it is important to consider any age-related physiological changes and take the necessary precautions to ensure the patient’s safety. Pre-operative strategies, as well as vigilant monitoring, can help minimize the risks associated with anesthetizing the elderly, ensuring their health and well-being before, during, and after their procedure.
Keywords: Anesthetizing, Elderly, Geriatric Anesthesia, Health, Age Related Physiological Changes, Pre-operative, Anesthetic Considerations, Monitoring, Post-operative Care.