Anaesthesia is Causing More Deaths


Deaths  caused  by  anaesthesia  are  increasing . A German  study  published in a  medical journal states  that more people are dying after operations because of anaesthesia than before. The reason for this is that, because of modern medicine, more and more older patients  undergo  operations.

More than 70 years ago, for every one million  patients  that were operated on, about 640 died during or shortly after an operation.  By the end of the 1980s that  rate  was down to four per one million operations, thanks to modern medicine and new forms of anaesthesia. A  recent  study  however  shows that this rate is up again to seven anaesthesia-related   deaths per one million operations.

The study states that,  on average,  patients who  undergo  operations have become older.  Performing  an operation, for example, on an eighty-year old is riskier than one on a twenty-year old. Anaesthesia can be  especially  risky if patients have heart problems or high  blood pressure . In  certain circumstances  it can lead to death.

Anaesthesia during an operation

Anaesthesia during an operation


During an operation  anaesthetists  watch the patient’s breathing,  heart rate  and blood pressure. It is up to them to  decide  the  amount  of  drugs  that a patient should get. In  rare  situations a patient is allergic to certain  anaesthetics . When  complications due to  anaesthesia  arise , the whole operating team must react quickly to get the situation under control.

Methods of anaesthesia have changed over the  ages .  Ancient  civilizations gave patients plants like  poppy  or alcohol to stop pain. In the 1800s  laughing gas  was discovered   as a  means  of anaesthesia.

Modern anaesthesia uses a  series  of  drugs  during operations. First, doctors give patients a strong  painkiller , then a drug that puts them to sleep. Finally, anaesthetists give them a drug that stops muscle movement .

Although   medicine is  constantly  making progress and new and better aesthetic drugs are being  discovered , operations under full anaesthesia  remain  risky. In such cases communication among the whole operating team is  necessary .






  • age   = period in history
  • although   = while
  • amount   = how much
  • anaesthesia   = when you are not able to feel pain
  • anaesthesia-related   = because of anaesthesia
  • anaesthetic   = a drug that stops you feeling pain
  • anaesthetist   = the doctor who is in charge of anaesthesia during an operation
  • ancient   = old
  • arise   = come up
  • blood pressure   = the power with which blood moves through your body
  • cause   = the reason for something
  • certain   = special
  • circumstance   = condition, situation
  • complication   = problem
  • constantly   = always
  • decide   = choose
  • discover   = to find for the first time
  • drug   = a medicine
  • due to   = because of
  • especially   = above all
  • heart rate   = the number of times your heart beats every minute
  • however   = but
  • increase   = to go up
  • laughing gas   = a gas that is sometimes used to stop pain
  • means   = way, method
  • medical journal = a magazine that is about medicine and health
  • movement   = moving
  • necessary   = needed, important
  • on average   = normally
  • painkiller   = a medicine that reduces pain
  • patient   = someone who is in a hospital because of an illness
  • perform   = carry out
  • poppy   = a plant that has red flowers and small black seeds
  • rare   = not very often
  • rate   = number
  • recent   = a short time ago, lately
  • remain   = stay
  • series   = a number of, many
  • state   = to say clearly what you think
  • study   = a piece of work that is done to find out more about a topic
  • undergo   =go through