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Abstract: A follow-up survey of the use of complementary and alternative medicines by surgical patients

Authors:

Norred CL

Institution:

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC), Denver, Colo., USA.

Source:

AANA J. 2002 Apr;70(2):119-25.

Abstract:

This study investigated the use of complementary and alternative medicines by surgical patients at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver. Elective surgical outpatients were randomly surveyed with anonymous self-report questionnaires during day-surgery admission about alternative medicines taken during the 2 weeks before surgery; 496 of 500 questionnaires were completed and returned. Of the patients, 37% reported 62 types of herbs, 59% reported 14 types of vitamins, 45% reported 36 types of of dietary supplements, and 1% reported taking 5 types of homeopathics. A total of 73.4% of patients took alternative medicines preoperatively (range, 1-44 medicines). After a literature review, the alternative medicines were categorized for potential interactions with anesthetic drugs. Alternative medicines that have inhibitory effects on the coagulation cascade were reported by 40% of surgical patients. The following percentages of patients took medicines that affect blood pressure, 32%; affect cardiac function, 20%; cause sedation, 17%; or have potential to alter electrolyte levels, 9%. Herbs recognized to interact with pharmaceuticals were consumed by 23% of patients. Further research, education, and improved communication are needed to safely integrate alternative medicines for surgical patients.

Keywords:

Anaesthesia Surgery Preassessment Complementary Alternative Medicines