Important precautions Anaesthetics

This page outlines important precautions to take when having local or general anaesthetics.
  • Anaesthesia for people with muscular dystrophy or a related condition is not to be undertaken lightly. Patients should expect the anaesthetist to make a careful and thorough assessment of their particular condition and their current state of health.
  • Doctors should carry out pre-operative investigations. Enough time and appropriate recovery facilities should be available after the operation. In most cases, patients with these conditions will not be treated as ‘day cases’.
  • Patients with these conditions must inform the anaesthetist even if they have only minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. Occasionally a neuromuscular disorder in a person who had no symptoms has come to light only because of an unexpected problem with anaesthesia. This can be the case particularly with young children. The anaesthetist should also be warned if there is an inherited neuromuscular condition in the family, even if the individual has no symptoms.
  • Ask for the anaesthetist to be forewarned before admission to hospital and consider wearing a Medic Alert bracelet or similar. In the case of unplanned admissions it may be worth accessing the “About me and my MD” card available from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. This is an information card for people with muscular dystrophy or a related condition to assist health professionals to better understand their condition and their individual needs.
  • Provide copies of a fact sheet covering your condition for members of staff including the anaesthetist.


1. Emery A, Muscular dystrophy: the facts, 3 rd edition, 2008, Oxford University Press, New York

2. Chalkiadis G, Branch K, Cardiac arrest after isoflurane anaesthesia in a patient with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, Anaesthesia 1990, Volume 45, 22-25

3. Klingler W, Lehmann-Horn F, Jurkat-Rott K, Complications of anaesthesia in neuromuscular disorders, Neuromuscular Disorders 2005, Volume 15, 195-206

4. Vercauteren M, Heytens L, Anaesthetic considerations for patients with a pre-existing neurological deficit: are neuraxial techniques safe? Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2007, Volume 51, 831-838