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Difficulty breathing after general anesthesia
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Difficulty breathing after general anesthesia

2 times now after receiving general anesthesia I have experienced difficulty breathing (felt like I could not get air) and this last time also chest pain.  Both times I was admitted to the hospital and had cardiac tests, chest x-ray, etc. and nothing was found.  The first time it occured 2 hours after recovery and this last time it occured immediately in the recovery room.  Both procedures (urological to remove kidney stones) were minor and I was in surgery for less than 45 minutes.  I do have a history of a severe pneumonia in the past (3 years ago).  I also was a heavy smoker for 40 years (2 ppd) and quit 10 years ago.  I have Barrett's esophagus and have had ablation therapy.  I have hypertension but under very good control with medication.  I have no history of heart disease.  I am a 71 year old man and walk 1 mile daily and play golf 2-3 times per week so am in reasonably good physical condition.  
Do you have an explanation for what might have happened?  Do I need to follow up with anyone on this?  Is it important to tell the anesthesiologist and should some other medications be used?    
Thank you for your time.
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At this point worrying won't solve anything.

Yes, of coursde you should inform the anesthesiologist the next time you may need anaesthesis, before hand IN WRITING, as well as verbally.

I don't think there was any malpractice involved, if that's what you are looking for.

All anesthetics have side efects. Local anesthetics have the least.

It appears possible you may have experienced a lack of oxygenation to the heart. You description of "chest pain" is not detailed enough to make the determination.

A guess, and it only a guess, is that the anesthesia lowered your breating rate. The P02 sensors in the carotids tried to signal your heart needed more oxygen, but the compensatory rate was inhibited by the long-life of the anesthetic. Thus there was a deficiency of oxygen to the heart. Drugs that are prescribed for hypertension can also restrict the ability of the heart to compensate. The drug for hypertension and not the anesthesia may be the cause of the problem.

This generally reflects itself in what is called ST depression in an EKG, but once the deficiency is corrected, provided there is no damage, the EKG may seem relatively normal.

Have you requested copies of your medical records?

Have you notified the hospital and the anaesthesiologist in writing of the problem?

Good luck.

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