Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Anesthesia: in cardiac emergencies

Contributor(s): John Dodam, Sheilah Robertson, Polly Taylor, Claire Waters


  • Successful outcomes depend upon:
    • Prompt recognition of developing problems.
    • Rapid diagnosis of the underlying cause.
    • Taking appropriate measures to correct the problem quickly.
    • Monitoring of patient during anesthesia to avert accidents during and after anesthesia.
  • Main requirements during anesthesia:
    • Adequate delivery of oxygen to tissues (3-5 ml/kg/min).
    • Removal of waste products from tissues.
    • Failure to achieve the above can result in serious complications particularly tissue hypoxia and cell death.
    • Main requirement of the circulation is to deliver an adequate supply of well oxygenated blood to the tissues. Adequate perfusion of tissue is as important as oxygenation of the blood.
    • Mean blood pressure should be maintained above 70 mmHg.

Hypotension and hypovolemia

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Cardiac arrhythmias

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Clutton E (1994) Management of perioperative cardiac arrest in companion animals Part 2. In Practice 16 (1), 3-6, 8-10 VetMedResource.
  • Clutton E (1993) Management of perioperative cardiac arrest in companion animals Part 1. In Practice 15 (6), 267-270, 273-277 VetMedResource.
  • Clarke K W & Hall L W (1990) A survey of anaesthesia in small animal practice: AVA/BSAVA report. J Vet Anaesth 17, 4-10 VetMedResource.
  • Robello C D & Crowe D T Jr. (1989) Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: current recommendations. Vet Clin North Am 19 (6), 1127-1149 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Hall L W & Taylor P M (1994) Eds Anesthesia of the Cat. London: Bailliere Tindall. pp 249-266, 270-273, 274-309. ISBN 0 7020 1665 9
  • Bedford P G C (1991) Small Animal Anesthesia, The Increased Risk Patient. London: Bailliere Tindall. p 92- 132. ISBN 0 7020 1501 6.
  • Richards D L S (1989) Anesthetic accidents and emergencies. In Manual of Anesthesia for Small Animal Practice. Ed: A D R Hilbery. Cheltenham: British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp95-99. ISBN 0 905214 09 9.
  • Hall L W (1982) Relaxant drugs in small animal anesthesia. In Proceedings of the Association of Veterinary Anesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland Supplement to 10, pp144-155.