The Savvy VetTech

Anesthesia Safety

by Lori Hehn - June 5, 2014 at 5:15 PM
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To ensure a safe workplace for pets and employees, remember a few key points regarding anesthesia safety.

For General Anesthetic Procedures:

    • Always remember to ask for assistance when moving large pets from one place to another. Moving a heavy dog by yourself could cause you or the pet injury.
    • Patients that are recovering from anesthesia need to be closely monitored. Sometimes they may thrash around or make sudden movements and could injure themselves or others.
    • Watch for the swallowing reflex during recovery and remove the deflated endotracheal tube when the patient begins to swallow.

Anesthetic Gas Precautions:

The goal is to keep the amount of waste gas low in the hospital environment. When using gas machines and administering gas anesthesia:

  • Always perform a leak check prior to using the machine. Check the hoses, lines, and scavengers for any leaks and ensure that the soda lime canister is properly secured to the machine.
  • Make sure the the antesthesia machines receive regular service maintenance and keep record of the maintenance and service to the machines.
  • Make sure the scavenger for the waste gas is connected prior to turning on the machine.
  • When the machine is not in use, the machine vaporizer and oxygen should be turned off. It should never be turned on unless the patient is connected to the machine. Oxygen can be used without connecting to the patient when blow-by oxygen is needed in emergency cases. Otherwise, a mask or connection directly to the ET tube is needed.
  • The endotracheal tubes should be the correct size for the patient. A tube that is too small puts a patient at risk of aspiration and causes anesthetic gas to leak out around the tube.
  • Inflate the endotracheal tube properly after placement but DO NOT OVERINFLATE. Ask for assistance if you are unsure how much to inflate the tube. If you overinflate the tube this could cause a tear of the trachea and could be life-threatening. Check for leaks after the patient is connected to the anesthetic machine.
  • When you turn the gas off after a procedure, leave the patient hooked up to oxygen for a couple of minutes. This will allow time for the anesthetic gas to pass out of the patient's lungs and into the scavenger.
  • Make sure that the soda lime is changed regularly (every 12 hours of use or so), and keep a log of when it was changed.

If you are ever in doubt about how to properly hook up an anesthesia machine, or are unsure about cuff size, etc., ALWAYS ASK! Better to be safe and ensure that you are doing the right thing, and protecting yourself and your patients.

About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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