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Anaesthesia for non-obstetric surgery 

Anaesthesia for non-obstetric surgery
Anaesthesia for non-obstetric surgery

Vegard Dahl

and Ulrich J. Spreng

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date: 05 December 2020

Anaesthesia for non-obstetric reasons is performed in 1–2% of all pregnant women. Although the chances of complications like miscarriage, preterm labour, and abortion are higher when surgery is performed during gestation, careful evaluation, preparation, and a multidisciplinary approach will minimize these risks. There are no methods of anaesthesia that are preferable to others during pregnancy. The most important preventive measure is to maintain maternal haemodynamic stability and normoventilation in order to ensure fetal well-being. Extensive knowledge of the profound anatomical and physiological changes that a pregnancy induces is mandatory for the team when operating on a pregnant woman. Short time exposure to anaesthetic agents in clinically relevant doses during surgery has never been demonstrated to have teratogenic effects. Lately, focus has been made on the possible behavioural teratogenic properties of anaesthesia, especially on the use of NMDA receptor antagonists and GABA receptor agonists. Emergency diagnostic imaging during pregnancy is considered safe and should be performed if necessary. Electroconvulsive therapy for the treatment of serious psychiatric disorders during pregnancy is a possibility that should be considered if necessary. Electric cardioversion seems safe for the fetus if life-threatening arrhythmias occur during pregnancy. Trauma is one of the leading non-obstetric causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. When treating a traumatized pregnant woman one should initially focus on the mother’s safety and haemodynamic stability.

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