Anesthesia: Before You Receive Anesthesia

You are scheduled for surgery. You’ll receive medicine called anesthesia to keep you from feeling pain during the surgery. This sheet explains steps you may need to take to prepare for anesthesia.

Woman having a blood test

Tests

Your doctor may send you to have certain tests before your procedure. These may include:

  • Blood tests. These help show how anesthesia may affect you.

  • Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG). This helps show how your heart is working.

  • Chest X-ray. This image helps show the health of your heart and lungs.

Medicines

In the weeks before your surgery:

  • Tell your doctor and anesthesia provider what medicines you take. This includes aspirin, other over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and vitamins. Be sure to mention if you take illegal drugs. (This will be kept confidential.) Giving this information helps ensure your safety.

  • You may be told to change certain medicines you take. Or you may be told to stop taking medicines for a certain amount of time.

  • Mention how much alcohol you drink and if you smoke. Also mention whether you’re allergic to any medications.

Other preparations

  • Follow any directions you are given for taking medicines and for not eating or drinking before surgery.

  • If you don’t talk to your anesthesia provider before surgery, you will meet the day of the procedure. He or she will explain your anesthesia and answer your questions.

  • Arrange for an adult family member or friend to drive you home after the surgery.

Be sure to follow all your doctor’s instructions. If you don’t, your procedure may have to be rescheduled.