Patients who encounter anesthesia awareness are not capable of speaking or communicating that they are awake and lay paralyzed.

Awareness Facts

•Also called intraoperative awareness

•Occurs rarely but is serious

•Common causes: inadequate anesthesia, equipment failure or mis-use Patient may feel pain of cutting

•Possible outcomes: post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, suicide

•Prevention: brain monitoring devices to measure depth of consciousness



Rate of Awareness
Anesthesia awareness occurs occasionally, and the extent and brutality differ. Patients may or may not sense pain. Some patients experience a feeling of pressure. It has been projected that roughly one patient per thousand in receipt of general anesthesia experiences some stage of awareness, usually momentary. It is important for patients to understand that relentless awareness experiences are highly unusual.

Patients should not be afraid.
The far-flung likelihood of experiencing awareness should not discourage patients from having needed surgery. The simple reality of the matter is this: Modern surgery is only promising through the miracle of anesthesia. Anesthesia today is safer than it has ever been thanks to advances in technology and pharmacology, as well as more strict practice standards and educational necessities for anesthesia sources.