Dopamine pathway induces emergence from anesthesia

Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Surgical procedures typically require patients to be placed under general anesthesia, which is usually well-managed and very safe. Emergence from anesthesia can have clinical complications, however, including delayed emergence, intraoperative decreases in oxygenation and emergence delirium, which can be associated with cognitive dysfunction and morbidity. There are no approved strategies for reversing the effects of general anesthesia in order to prevent these outcomes. Ken Solt, assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA), explained in a press release, “Clinically, emergence from general anesthesia is still a passive process during which we just wait for the drugs to wear off and the patient to wake up, a process that can take from a few minutes to an hour or longer. Finding a way to safely arouse patients from anesthesia… may reduce problems such as postoperative delirium and cognitive dysfunction.”

Lab Anim. (NY) 43, 304 (2014).
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