Waking Up During Surgery Can Increase The Risk Of PTSD, Depression

First Posted: Dec 01, 2014 01:40 PM EST

Accidentally waking up during a medical procedure cannot only be scary. It can be dangerous. However, unlike folklore you might have heard, with tales of patients waking up during a kidney transplant, a recent study shows that as many as one in 19,600 patients may accidentally wake up during the early stages. 

Previous studies conducted in the United states have reported even higher incidences, with as many as one in 1,000 surgical patients sighting such experiences. However, cases reported in this new study were stated as voluntary, which could misrepresent the true number, according to CNN.

Furthermore, most of the incidents occurred with patients who had received paralytics as part of their anesthesia, preventing them from moving to alert doctors that they were awake.

"Paralysis is terrifying and has never been experienced by most people," said lead study author Jaideep Pandit, a consultant anesthetist at Oxford University Hospitals, via CNN.

Many of those who'd experienced paralysis also experienced hallucinations and near death experiences. These oftentimes contributed to lasting memories that could increase the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, in more severe instances, along with depression in about 50 percent of cases.

The researchers concluded the importance of detecting "accidental awareness during general anesthesia," and preventing it whenever possible.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Anaesthesia

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