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Anesthesiology/copd and gallbladder removal


my mother has severe emphysema and desperately needs her gall bladder removed ,she has many stones in the bile duct and the gall bladder ,she was told she can not have a general anaesthetic as she would probably not recover is their any other anaesthetic options

For Gall Bladder removal there is not a good alternative from GA.  If your mother has severe enough COPD that she cannot tolerate general anesthesia, then any other option would not be tolerated either.  

In reality, no one knows whether your mother would tolerate general anesthesia unless she is very frequently hospitalized for problems associated with her emphysema and requires mechanical ventilation to get her through her hospitalization.  If she is in stable condition and does not need frequent hospitalization or any hospitalization due to her emphysema, then all clinicians can do is guess as to how much risk she is undertaking.  I would guess the risk for significant post operative problems is about 20% (very high in medicine) if she is bad enough that she requires home oxygen and cannot get from the couch to the fridge without getting slightly short of breath.

If she is better than that, then her risk is somewhat lower.

The main risk is that she will need post operative mechanical ventilation that could lead to further problems like pneumonia.  This in theory could lead to a terminal event where she does not recover, or it takes a very long time.  In general, the chances are that she will need some period of post operative intensive care, but then would likely recover to a good enough degree so to be able to leave the ICU.

I hope that was helpful

Dr. Russell


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Rex Russell


Any question dealing with general anesthesia issues. With particular emphasis on regional anesthesia.


I am a board certified anesthesiologist, graduated from residency in 2004 from Johns Hopkins Hospital. I have since worked as an anesthesiologist first in the Air Force for three years and then most recently in Texas in Private Practice.

Texas Medical Association Texas society of Anesthesiologists American Society of Anesthesiologists

BS, BYU MD, U of Texas, Galveston Intern-St. Joe's Hospital, Phx, AZ Internal Medicine Residency-Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

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