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Anesthesia: Before You Receive Anesthesia

You're scheduled for surgery. You’ll receive medicine called anesthesia to keep you from feeling pain during the surgery. This sheet explains steps you may need to take to get ready for anesthesia.

Healthcare provider preparing to draw blood from woman's arm.


You may need to have some tests before your procedure. These may include:

  • Blood tests. These help show how anesthesia may affect you.

  • Electrocardiography (ECG). This helps show how your heart is working.

  • Chest X-ray. This imaging test helps show the health of your heart and lungs.


In the weeks before your surgery:

  • Tell your healthcare provider and anesthesia provider what medicines you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines. It includes vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. Giving this information helps to keep you safe.

  • You may be told to change some medicines you take. Or you may be told to stop taking medicines for a certain amount of time.

  • Mention how much alcohol you drink and if you smoke. Also mention if you’re allergic to any medicines.

Other preparations

  • Follow any directions you're given for not eating or drinking before surgery.

  • If you don’t talk to your anesthesia provider before surgery, you'll meet the day of the procedure. They'll explain your anesthesia and answer your questions.

  • Arrange for an adult family member or friend to drive you home after the surgery.


Be sure to follow all your healthcare provider’s instructions. If you don’t, your procedure may have to be rescheduled.

© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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