Aborted Procedure

on 8/20/14 8:17 am

Hi! First time poster, longtime lurker. 

So, I went in for my procedure on the 18th at Toronto Western (Dr. Penner), and apparently, I suffered a major asthma attack after I had anesthesia. They had to abort the surgery since they were having a hard time ventilating me. Dr. Penner said he's done 10's of thousands of surgeries like mine, and this was only the third time he has seen this happen. They kept me overnight for observation, and I was released the next day. 

The thing is, I don't have asthma issues. I used to, years and years ago, but it's been well over 7 years since I had to even user a puffer. Even then, it was a once or twice a year kind of flare-up, usually due to a cold or cough.  I'm currently on NO medication for asthma because I haven't needed anything.  I was feeling just fine prior to the anesthesia too, no coughs, or tightness, or shallow breathing or anything. This came completely out of left-field. 

Anway, long story short, he said there's no reason why I shouldn't have the surgery, but they want me to get asthma medication and start a course of treatment in order to avoid this happening again. They'll most likely rebook the surgery for 2 weeks from now.

I just wanted to find out if anyone has ever heard of this happening, or had this happen to them, and if they found out anything more in regards to why it happened. 

Also, it was scary as hell, and now I'm super anxious about going under anesthesia again. Waking up with a tube down your throat is just the worst way to wake up ever. Should I ask my family doctor to give me something for the anxiety? 

PS: I have no other co-morbidities. Current height 5'3'' and 275 pounds. 



on 8/20/14 11:55 pm

Was it a reaction to the anesthesia? Thats more what it sounds like than an asthma attack?

on 8/21/14 1:30 am

Apparently my lungs reacted to the tube they inserted down my throat and closed up. They had a really hard time ventillating me even with a bunch of meds they shot up. I have no idea if this was the anesthesiologist's mistake, or if it was completely random and couldn't have been prevented, but I did tell them (multiple) times that I had a history of asthma, although I hadn't suffered an attack or flare-up in years and years. 


on 8/21/14 1:01 am

I have very mild asthma brought on by colds/virus or allergies.  I use my inhaler maybe once a month, if that.  They advised me to use the puffer the morning of my surgery and to bring it to the hospital.

I had no problems with it, but they are concerned with the anaesthetic bringing it on.

Good luck!

on 8/21/14 1:33 am

I'm going to my family doctor today to pick up some asthma medication that the anesthesiologist asked me to take prior to the new surgery. They said it should resolve any issues, and that the anesthesia next time should go through smoothly. 

on 8/21/14 5:55 am

Hey im sorry that it happen to you. But also ask ur doc for a preventive method also bc I read where u only take ur inhaler once a month.  This could help prior to surgury. Jus a thought gud luck

on 8/21/14 5:19 am

Do what they tell you. Sounds like they took the right steps, hope all goes well next time 

on 8/21/14 12:34 pm - CA
RNY on 07/03/14

I have asthma that is also much better than it ever has been my whole life thanks to prescription claritin but after I had my IV in the morning of surgery they gave me all sorts of asthma meds.  I had to use albuterol twice and then had to breath some sort of meds for 10 minutes before going in to surgery.  I'm sure now that they know your experience next time will be different.  I had no breathing issues before, during or after surgery. 

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on 8/22/14 7:38 am

Thanks everyone that reached out to answer my concerns and share their own experiences. I'm scheduled for surgery again for the 26th, and I'll be going in a lot less anxious thanks to the support of people in this forum and of people in my life. 

I'll follow up and let everyone know how it went !