Anesthesiologist Questions Anesthesiologist

Can anesthesia cause an irregular heartbeat?

I am a 28 year old male. I will have surgery under general anesthesia. Can anesthesia cause an irregular heartbeat?

10 Answers

While anesthesia can technically do this, it’s more often related to electrolyte abnormalities.
Usually no. Unless you have some pre-existing cardiac problems, but otherwise, the chance of that is very small.
Dysrhytmias during emergence from anesthesia are a common occurrence, but are uneventful.
Modern General anesthetic drugs are unlikely by themselves to cause a serious irregular heartbeat in a young healthy individual, taking no medications and not using street drugs.  Irregular heartbeats can be caused by surgical stimulus, or other drugs used by the anesthesiologist or surgeon.  Anesthesiologists are well trained to respond to serious heartbeats when they do occur.  Everybody has some insignificant heartbeat irregularity on a daily basis.

Steven Dain MD
Many medications can cause disturbances in heart rhythm, often by affecting the normal conduction mechanisms of the heart and/ or by affecting the heart rate. Most of the time, these are transient and of no clinical significance. If an abnormal rhythm were to occur under anesthesia, the anesthesia provider can take steps to correct it if necessary, often with other medications.
Yes. It can occasionally cause irregular heartbeat which can be a transient event, but may need to be treated.
Yes anesthesia can cause an irregular heartbeat but some anesthetics (gases) cause arrhythmias more than others (IV anesthetics like propofol). This is more common in people who have a prior history of arrhythmias. Not common in healthy patients. Patients with history of arrhythmias would be given anesthetics with a lower likelihood of causing irregular heartbeat.
During anesthesia some patients have benign arrythmias. However most os the time there is no long term effect on the heart.
Sometimes there are arytmias under gen anesthesia and are normal for us