Iowa State University Veterinarian

Article Title

Cardiac Anesthesia

Document Type



The purpose of general anesthesia is to provide analgesia, unconsciousness, muscle relaxation and suppression of autonomic and somatic reflexes. A patient with cardiac disease may require general anesthesia for angiography or angioplasty or for another reason unrelated to the heart. Safe anesthesia requires careful evaluation of the cardiopulmonary system. A preanesthetic work up should include a complete physical exam, blood work, an electrocardiogram and thoracic radiographs. The hemodynamic changes expected with heart disease need to be reviewed along with the effects of the cardiac drugs used to treat the condition. The potential interaction of these drugs with anesthetic agents also needs to be considered. An arrhythmia needs to be identified and treated before anesthesia. These animals may be a challenge to anesthetize.