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Anesthesiology/Too long effects of anesthesia

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Question
My husband had hemorrhoid surgery several years ago. He was totally paralyzed for 24 hours. They found he is lacking some enzyme that dissipates the drug, which should leave the body in 20 minutes. The anesthesiologist told us it can be a hereditary condition. Our kids are all aware, and now a nephew needs the info. What is the drug and/or condition so I can pass it along to him. thank you so much in advance.

Answer
The enzyme he is lacking is called pseudocholinesterase. This is only important if he receives succinylcholine. Normally, succinylcholine is broken down by pseudocholinesterase in about 5-10 minutes. There are varying degrees of pseudocholinesterase deficiency. It seems your husband has the worst form. He should wear a medic alert or at least have it put in his records that he has this condition so they can avoid using that muscle relaxant in the future. It is hereditary so close relatives should definitely be checked.

Ronald Levy, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology
UTMB-Galveston

Anesthesiology

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Ronald Levy, M.D.

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Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. I am a board certified anesthesiologist who can answer all questions related to any type of Anesthesia with the exception of Pain Management.

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