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4-2 Effects of Anesthesia on Body Systems

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

Anesthesia can cause a patient's pulmonary efficiency to decrease, thereby causing an increase in the probability of postoperative pneumonia. We all must breathe and take in sufficient oxygen in order to live. Respiratory function, or breathing, is often compromised in the surgical patient. The combination of drugs given to produce anesthesia or to reduce pain, as well as the body's response to the trauma of surgery itself, will affect the respiratory function.

CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM

Certain anesthetic agents can increase the probability of cardiac problems and postoperative hypotension. Common circulatory problems include hemorrhage and shock, cardiac arrest, and postoperative hypotension. Disruption of sutures and insecure ligation of blood vessels can cause hemorrhage. Shock occurs as a result of hemorrhage or cardiac insufficiency.

URINARY SYSTEM

Anesthesia can cause urinary retention. This is not an uncommon complication since anesthesia temporarily depresses urinary bladder tone. A decrease in fluid intake can lead to dehydration and infection.

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM

Anesthesia slows or stops the peristaltic action of the intestine, which results in constipation. Nausea and vomiting may cause fluid imbalance. Abdominal distention/flatus may also be present.

 

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015