Diagnosis | Complications in anesthesia


Complications that may occur during anesthesia are usually well diagnosed. The patient is monitored by an anaesthetist during the anaesthesia, who tries to resolve any complications directly. If, for example, a drop in blood pressure occurs, this is registered directly and the anaesthetist can give specific medication to prevent the drop in blood pressure. If the anaesthetist notices during the operation that the patient is suffering from malignant hyperthermia, he intervenes directly and gives an antidote, which is available in every operating theatre in Germany and thus saves the patient from death. The heart is also permanently monitored by ECG, and the lung values are also checked in order to ventilate or intubate the patient if the oxygen level drops.


If complications occur during the anaesthesia, this can manifest itself through various symptoms. There can be a drop in blood pressure but also an increase in blood pressure. The heartbeat (heart rate) can accelerate or slow down.

The patient can suddenly breathe less, which then leads to a drop in oxygen in the blood. There are therefore various symptoms which indicate complications during anesthesia. Complications that occur after anesthesia are usually characterized by symptoms such as malaise or vomiting. In addition, the patient should pay attention to whether his breathing is normal or whether he has problems.


If complications occur during the anaesthesia, they can usually be easily resolved by the anaesthetist. The anaesthetist sits next to the patient during the entire operation and monitors the patient’s values so that, should complications arise, he can intervene directly and eliminate the cause of the complications. For this reason, during the entire operation there is always medication available which can be given in case of malignant hyperthermia or other unexpected complications.

In addition, there are oxygen masks and intubation tubes in every operating room, which are used to help the patient in case of complications. For the usual post-operative complications such as nausea or vomiting, the patient can also receive medication on request to reduce the nausea and thus compensate for the complications caused by the anesthesia. If local allergic reactions occur, the patient can also receive an antihistamine. This is a drug that reduces the allergic reaction of the body and thus reduces the complications caused by the anesthesia.


In general, complications rarely occur during anesthesia and therefore the prognosis is very good. Nevertheless, especially with older patients, the benefits of the operation should always be weighed up against the risks. Every anaesthesia carries a certain risk and therefore it is important to be aware of the possible complications before surgery. At the same time, it is important to be aware that anesthesia very rarely leads to such serious complications that death or lifelong disability occurs as medicine continues to advance and there are now very well tolerated narcotics that have a very low risk of complications.