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COPD and general anaesthetic

Gladys27 profile image
28 Replies

Hi folks hope you all doing ok today. Thank you for the replies to my last post regarding the morning cough. I am due to have some minor surgery next Tuesday which should have been done in November. Its to remove some precancerous cells from my rectum (I know pain in the ar..) As I had quite a bad excerbation for 7 weeks and still have bad morning cough I am hesitating over a general anaesthetic . In fact it frightens me a bit with my chest as it is. Hoping they will give me an epidural or similar:) Want to ask have any of you have had a general anaesthetic and how did it affect your chest afterwards.? If I was well then a general would not bother me but trying to cover all bases incase they wont due an epidural . Your replies will be appreciated and hopefully put my mind at rest xxx

28 Replies
CDPO16 profile image

I haven't had any surgery or anaesthetic since my COPD diagnosis but you will be assessed by an anaesthetist who will decide which anaesthetic is the safest for you before any surgery is done. I hope all goes well for you.

Gladys27 profile image
Gladys27 in reply to CDPO16

Thank you x

beech profile image

I had emergency surgery under GA a few months ago, and was more anxious about the GA than I was about the surgery (infected gallbladder removal). Obviously I told the anaesthetist about my medical history and he had my hospital notes anyway. And I made the point that I was really worried about the GA! He said not to worry, he would manage fine.

The op took 3 hours, but I was fine immediately afterwards. I was encouraged to walk to the toilet, go for a shower and walk on the ward occasionally. Sometimes my O2 sats were low when I was in bed, and I was asked to breathe deeply to bring my readings up.

I went home after 2 days, and phoned my respiratory nurse at the GPs to tell her what had happened. She encouraged me to walk as regularly as much as I was able to around the house as I recovered, but to get in touch if I felt I might have an infection or was more breathless. All was fine .

But obviously be honest with the anaesthetist if you have any concerns about your breathing and the problems you are experiencing.

Gladys27 profile image
Gladys27 in reply to beech

Thank you Beech, perhaps I am worrying unecessarily xx

wb54 profile image
wb54 in reply to beech

Thank you Beech, I am paranoid about GA due to breathing issues, etc, your experience has taken the edge off my paranoia.

beech profile image
beech in reply to wb54

Me too! An operation is something I’ve dreaded since developing lung problems.

In an odd way, luckily I didn’t have too much time to dwell on it as it all happened quickly. I was very anxious as I was waiting to go into the operating theatre, but of course once you go under that’s the end of that worry. The anaesthetist’s confidence gave me confidence 👍

Caspiana profile image

Hello Gladys. This would depend on the condition of your lungs. They would definitely not give general anaesthesia to someone with very compromised lungs. I was not able to have a lung biopsy because of this. I also had to have an operation on my sinuses under local. If your lungs aren't in too bad a shape they can give you a general. At any rate any capable anesthesiologist would know of it is safe or not for you. You will need to fully disclose your lung condition to them. I hope it all goes well. Take care. xx 🙂👋

Lynneypin profile image
Lynneypin in reply to Caspiana

what was the sinus operation like under local ?

Caspiana profile image
Caspiana in reply to Lynneypin

Well as expected I suppose not very pleasant. But I think that was also because they used a drill to cut away at the bone, the sound made it worse. In your case there might not be a lot of noise which I think will help. I was lucky the nurses were good, reassuring and importantly held my hand. I got through it okay. After that I had a lung transplant so in retrospect it was not bad at all. xx 😅

Lynneypin profile image
Lynneypin in reply to Caspiana

crikey. You’ve been through it x

garshe profile image

My husband had a big operation 3 weeks ago and had General anaesthetic. He has,COPD like me. He had an appointment the week before where they checked everything to see if he was able to have the anaesthetic.

I was really worried the whole time he was in Operating Theatre as it seemed a life time. He was fantastic and sitting up eating dinner after he returned to ward.

Next day came home but had to go on morphine as in pain and the 2 different antibiotics he had to take made him unwell. He gradually got better and is back to normal already .3 weeks later being discharged on Friday as all dressings off and all healed. He is 79 so it was a worrying time, but now happy all over.

You will be fine they are on hand and will he watching you every second.

Good luck and hope it all goes well which I'm sure it will xxSheila 💕⚘

Ps his operation was to cut out and remove skin cancer on his head . He also had a skin graft where they took skin from his thigh . This meant he had two areas to contend with. Had to be careful graft didnt reject. All is fantastic thank goodnes and healing well. Its fantastic what they can do today. Good luck again xx👍👍

Gladys27 profile image
Gladys27 in reply to garshe

Thanks you Sheila that information is great. It is worrying when you know your lungs are not 100%. The reason I worry s much is that 5 years ago I had cancer in my one remaining kidney and had cryoablation to kill off the lesions and ended up with urine in my pleural cavity and empyema. Was ventilated and in critical care for 3 weeks. This is why it worries me, I have to say although I had copd then it was very mild. I am 75 and reasonable fit so onwards and upwards, glad when its all over with. Thank you x

garshe profile image
garshe in reply to Gladys27

You'll be fine. Good luck and let us know xxSheila 💕⚘

Gladys27 profile image
Gladys27 in reply to garshe

Hi Sheila - operation was done and I had an epidural because I asked if I could :) stayed overnight and been home 3 days. All going ok, bit sore but that's all. Just wish I could get rid of my constant mucous cough. Thank you x

garshe profile image
garshe in reply to Gladys27

So pleased it's all over and you are home recovering. As regards to your cough , I take Covonia Mucus Cough oral solution . Has liquorice in it Bought from Boots.Works for me and helps sort cough and mucus. Doesnt cause any problems with my COPD.

Good luck, sending hugs .xxSheila 💕⚘

Alberta56 profile image

Best wishes. Hope the op goes ahead and is safe and successful.

Karenanne61 profile image

I've had three major abdominal surgeries since diagnosis in 2016. All under ga. The anesthatists have been amazing . VERY thorough, lots of test and discussions with me. Each time they have insisted on an icu bed being available, just in case. This meant the surgeries had to take place at our large hospital in Oxford and were cancelled a few times. The bed was only used once and I didn't really need it . Coughing post surgery was a bit difficult and scary, I thought I'd break the stitches, clips etc. Of course I didn't!

Gladys27 profile image
Gladys27 in reply to Karenanne61

Hi thank you for replying. Do you have copd? did you find your cough was worse after the ga?

Thanks P x

Karenanne61 profile image
Karenanne61 in reply to Gladys27

I have very severe copd. I don't think my cough was any different, in fact whilst on morphine it was slightly better. Sadly we discovered I was allergic to morphine. 🤦‍♀️

INK45 profile image

I fell and broke my hip last summer and had to have a full replacement, so even though I have stage 4 COPD (Fev 27), I had to have GA, it turned out fine, had no problem waking up and breathing during and after the operation, this is to say I'm sure you'll be OK, GA is nice, you really don't feel a thing, letting go and feeling confident surely helps. Best wishes from Spain. Nik

Gladys27 profile image
Gladys27 in reply to INK45

Thank you that's reassuring to know. Glad you are ok now x

GintyFerguson profile image

Hi, I've had a 'spinal' twice. Different to an epidural which can be topped up. Basically they inject the spine and you are numb below the waist or just below lungs. Then I was lightly sedated . Don't remember a thing and didn't feel a thing . The anaesthetist will speak to you before the op. That's what happened for me anyway . Good luck.

Gladys27 profile image
Gladys27 in reply to GintyFerguson

Thnk you think mine was a spinal not an epidural. All ok

Dollypeg1234 profile image

Hi Gladys I had a GA for removal of my spleen because of a tumour don’t want to frighten you but I was quite poorly coming round after the op and had to have CPap for quite a long time my husband was very worried waiting for me to come round as i was in recovery for such a long time, I’m sure it depends on how compromised your lungs are but I won’t be having any more GA even though I need a hip replacement I will just carry on with pain relief hope you are ok.

Izb1 profile image

I had a GA to remove my gall bladder as i had a huge stone. I dont have copd but have bronchiectasis and at the time I remember telling the surgeon that i had quite a bad cough and he said well i will put a little something into the mix. When I came round I was on oxygen with whatever this little mix was and it was the first time in years that I didnt cough, I actually felt wonderful. I am sure the people dealing with you will know what to do. Good luck x

beech profile image
beech in reply to Izb1

it sounds like we could all do with a bit of the “little something in the mix” full time! 😆😆

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to beech

Oh! if only, I would happily pay for this x

jackdup profile image

I am not sure of what your lung issues are or how severe but I had a surgery that was about two hours long last Dec under a general anesthetic and everything went fine. I had asked the anesthesiologist about my COPD and he said it should be fine. He said if there is any issues we know how to deal with them. That was reassuring.

Good luck

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