Ataxia UK

General Anaesthetic

You may know already, but if not ...

If you have to go to hospital and have an operation, try to avoid having a general anaesthetic. Unfortunately, my Dad had a fairly routine operation, but died from complications due to aspirating in the recovery room.This was because his throat muscles weren't very strong and the doctors had not realised that people with ataxia have this problem. They told us that if other members of the family with ataxia, had to have an operation, be certain that the anaesthetist is very aware of the weakness and does not remove tubes too early.

Sorry to be so depressing, but I think it important that you are aware of the potential danger and can point it out.

6 Replies

Hi Lit

I agree that it is very important if you are having a general anaesthetic that the anaesthetist knows that you have ataxia and/or any other medical problems, and if you have any swallowing difficulties hence weakness with your throat muscles. If you have communication difficulties or are in an emergency situation and are not able to make the anaesthetist aware of this it might be sensible to wear a medic alert bracelet or carry a card to alert the medics to your difficulties.



Thanks for sharing that - it had never crossed my mind and a very useful thing of which to be aware.

Patsy x


Thats very interesting advice Lit. I have had quite a few general anesthetics in the past with no problems but I will certainly take this into consideration if I need to have an anesthetic in the future. Thanks


I hope it helps someone. It is good for something good to come out of it! X


Hello Lit

Better late than never!!!

I agree totally with your comments,, Ataxians need to avoiid general anesthetic. I speak from experience, what happened to your Fatherr happened to me. Except I survived albeit with a damaged voicebox. Speech was hard enough before now it is very hard. Still it makes a change, just for once it is not Ataxia and I can blame something else.

Kind regards



REALLY PLEASED you made it! Shame about the voice though. I am finding it more and more difficult to get people to understand me!

Love Lit


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