Patients going under the knife should be allowed to breathe easy thanks to new innovations. Respiratory depression (RD) can arise during normal physician-supervised procedures such as surgical or post-operative analgesia, and as a result of normal post-operative patient management.
If RD occurs while under the supervision of an experienced anesthesiologist, the outcome can usually be managed and there can be minimal long-term effects to the patient. Unfortunately, there are many situations during both in-patient and outpatient procedures where strong analgesic therapy is required but there is no attending anesthesiologist.
Each year, two thousand people or more die or suffer serious complications—such as organ failure, brain damage, or heart attack—from factors related to the use of post-surgical analgesic therapy, anesthesia, or a combination of drugs which depress the central nervous system.
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