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Post-Polio Health (ISSN 1066-5331)

Vol. 31, No. 1, Winter 2015


Update on Anesthesia

Selma H. Calmes, MD, Retired Anesthesiologist, Culver City, California (Presented by Dr. Calmes at PHI’s 11th International Conference on June 2, 2014, in St. Louis)

Many polio patients fear anesthesia. Multiple surgeries in childhood
were common for those who had polio, and anesthesia care then was not as sophisticated as it is today. Modern anesthesia is much improved since the time of polio epidemics! I have been asked, as a polio survivor and an anesthesiologist familiar with modern anesthesia practice, to answer recent, common questions asked by post-polio patients.

Do I really need to have a colonoscopy? It requires anesthesia, and I’m afraid of that.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. About 5% of Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer in their life-time. Colonoscopy (looking at the lower part of the intestine with a flexible telescope, to identify early/possible colon cancer) is currently the most accepted way to identify early colon cancer; it has been well-documented to save lives because early lesions can be identified and removed..


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