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Atlanta Dentists Need to Take Precautions before Sedating Patients with Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

No Atlanta dental malpractice lawyer would doubt that modern sedation techniques are safer and more effective than ever before. Yet, every year there are far too many cases involving patients developing serious or even fatal complications after being administering anesthesia. According to a new article in Anesthesia Progress, the risks are especially great when patients have existing medical conditions.

Before performing a dental procedure on a person with a pre-existing medical condition, Atlanta dentists must evaluate the patient’s eligibility for anesthesia. A dentist who is treating a patient suffering from cardiovascular disease, must have a complete review of the patient’s medical history. This must be followed by a physical examination, including a recording of the blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, it is now required by the standard of care to record capnography to ensure patient safety while under general anesthesia.

After this, the dentist must make an informed decision about whether the patient is eligible for a procedure. The researchers advise dentists to refer the patient back to a physician, if they have any doubts about the patient’s eligibility for the procedure, even if that means delaying the procedure. Once the anesthesia is administered, any significant changes in blood pressure readings must be monitored closely.

The position of the patient during the procedure is also important. The researchers recommend a sedated patient to be placed supine with legs elevated slightly. Continuous monitoring of vitals like blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the oxygen saturation of blood is important to ensure that the patient is in no danger at any point during the procedure.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the following complications are associated with general anesthesia:

  • Death (rare)
  • Harm to your vocal cords
  • Heart attack
  • Lung infection
  • Mental confusion (temporary)
  • Stroke
  • Trauma to the teeth or tongue
  • Waking during anesthesia (rare)

Not every bad outcome from anesthesia is caused by malpractice, but many are. When there is a bad outcome such as stroke, heart attack, or even death, a thorough investigation is essential to determine who was responsible for the complication, what caused the complication and where you can get more answers in order to get to the bottom of what really happened when the patient was under anesthesia.

Robert J. Fleming is an Atlanta dental malpractice lawyer, helping victims of negligence by dentists, dental assistants and other professionals, recover compensation for their injuries. He has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like discuss your case in complete confidence, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.