Previous anaesthetics and operations

These may have occurred in hospitals or, less commonly, dental surgeries. Enquire about any difficulties, for example: nausea, vomiting, dreams, awareness, postoperative jaundice. Check the records of previous anaesthetics to rule out or clarify problems such as difficulties with intubation, allergy to drugs given, or adverse reactions (e.g. malignant hyperpyrexia, see below). Some patients may have been issued with a 'Medic Alert' type bracelet or similar device giving details or a contact number. Although halothane is now less popular for maintenance of anaesthesia, the approximate date of previous anaesthetics should be identified if possible to avoid the risk of repeat exposure (see page 33). Details of previous surgery may reveal potential anaesthetic problems, for example cardiac, pulmonary or cervical spine surgery.

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