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   Support groups > General groups > How can MedicAlert h
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How can MedicAlert help if your at anaesthetic risk?
How can MedicAlert help if your at anaesthetic risk?

What is anaesthesia?
Anaesthetic works by blocking the signals in your nerves so that the brain doesn't recognise that you are in pain.

There are different forms of anaesthesia that are administered; these depend on the type of procedure being undertaken:

• General anaesthetic - is used to provide pain relief and causes loss of consciousness so that surgery can be carried out without causing any pain or discomfort.
• Local anaesthetic - causes a complete loss of feeling to a small area of the body without the patient losing consciousness.

Regional anaesthetic:

• Epidural anaesthetic /Spinal anaesthetic - A catheter or injection is placed into the spine that causes a loss of sensation below the abdomen and is a form of regional anaesthesia.
• Regional techniques - Regional anaesthesia can be provided by injecting local anaesthetics directly into the veins of an arm or leg.

How does this relate to MedicAlert?
The term Anaesthetic Risk can be used by MedicAlert on a member's emblem, this is our collective term for serious adverse reactions to various types of anaesthesia. These could be reactions to specific forms of anaesthetics, including the many different forms of side effects that can be associated with anaesthesia. These can be classed as common side effects such as feeling sick or a sore throat, right up to very rare complications that occasionally occur like a serious allergic reaction to the drugs, paralysis and even death*.

* Deaths caused by anaesthesia are very rare. There are probably about 5 deaths for every million anaesthetics in the UK.

(Source: The Royal College of Anaesthetics You and your anaesthetic leaflet 3rd Edition May 2008)

How can The MedicAlert Foundation help?
If you have a history of reactions to anaesthesia or are at risk due to a specific medical conditions. MedicAlert may engrave the words ‘Anaesthetic Risk' on your emblem. This will alert emergency medical and hospital personnel that you are prone to an adverse reaction to anaesthetics. The medical personnel can call our emergency number on the emblem to get more detailed information about your reaction to anaesthetic.

To register with MedicAlert, visit our jewellery store and choose your emblem. You will be asked to complete an online form, which includes your personal details, GP/hospital information and medical information (including any allergies) which are stored securely on our database and can be accessed in the event of a emergency or where you are unable to speak for yourself.
 
Iain Surman
The MedicAlert Foundation
 
 
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