Importance of Medical History: Your Foot and Ankle Surgery SafetyBy: Dr. Jesseka Kaldenberg-Leppert, DPM

“Why are they asking all these questions? None of this is related to my foot or ankle.” This is a thought that runs through many patients’ minds as they are filling out intake forms and answering questions when they are roomed. While it may seem unrelated to your foot and ankle problem and seems to drag on, there is a very important reason for all the questions…you and your safety!

Prior to surgical intervention on your foot and ankle, your provider would like to know as much as possible about your health history, health conditions, anesthesia history and your family’s history with anesthesia. There are multiple conditions which providers must be aware of prior to surgical intervention to ensure that patients are kept safe and the only way they can become aware of these conditions is by asking questions and obtaining a family history. One of these conditions is malignant hyperthermia.

Malignant hyperthermia is an inherited condition (genetic mutation) of skeletal muscle that is triggered by certain medications that are used in anesthesia. When your body is exposed to these medications, it can cause skeletal muscle damage, hyperthermia (abnormally increased body temperature) and possible death. The true incidence of malignant hyperthermia is unknown but thought to be 1 out of every 5,000 cases to 1 out of every 50,000 cases.

To prevent adverse reactions to anesthesia during your foot and ankle surgery, follow these tips:

  • Discuss any previous adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Discuss family history of anesthesia complications
  • Inform your foot and ankle physician of all medications including non-prescription medications or supplements you are taking
  • Discuss history/current use of tobacco products
  • Discuss chronic health conditions such as:
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Liver disease
    • Asthma
    • High blood pressure
    • Seizure history
  • Inform your foot and ankle physician of all your allergies
  • Inform your foot and ankle physician of history of blood clots including deep vein thrombosis as well as pulmonary embolism
  • Inform your foot and ankle physician of any pain management contract you may have for chronic pain

In conclusion, the long list of questions your foot and ankle physician asks at your appointment and on intake forms give them very important information to keep you safe. At Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa your safety is a priority to our entire team.

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