Newswise — PARK RIDGE, ILLINOIS—An article in the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)’s AANA Journal, “Lyme Disease and Anesthesia Considerations,” discusses possible effects of anesthesia on Lyme disease patients undergoing surgery. Here are some important facts to know:

  • In the pre-operative assessment interview, patients should let their anesthesia professional know if they have been in an area where there is a risk of contracting Lyme disease, such as hiking areas where ticks are present. Patients who know they have Lyme disease should discuss the choice of anesthetic with their anesthesia provider.
  • General anesthesia may suppress the immune system. Volatile anesthetic agents may affect the functioning of white blood cells in combatting disease.
  • Patients with “systemic infections” (those that affect the entire body) such as Lyme disease may need to be cautious with spinal or epidural anesthesia, as they may introduce infective agents into the central nervous system. This can be especially important in the early stages of the disease when there may not yet be signs of central nervous system involvement.
  • Since 2005, 20,000-30,000 confirmed infections are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year.
  • Of the diseases required by law to be reported to government authorities, Lyme disease is the fifth most common nationally. Lyme disease is also the most commonly reported infection transferred from one living organism to another in the U.S.

Each disease or health condition has its considerations for anesthesia and surgery. Patients are encouraged to speak freely with their anesthesia provider to ensure that all health considerations are included in the anesthesia plan. Telling the anesthesia provider about allergies, health conditions, complementary or alternative drug use, prescription and illicit drug or alcohol misuse helps to keep the patient safe throughout surgery.

About the AANA Journal The AANA Journal is the official scholarly journal of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). The AANA Journal is available online to the public, free of charge, immediately upon publication of the print version, at

About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Founded in 1931 and located in Park Ridge, Ill., and Washington, D.C., the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is the professional organization representing more than 52,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists across the United States. As advanced practice registered nurses and anesthesia specialists, CRNAs administer approximately 43 million anesthetics to patients in the United States each year and are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America. In some states, CRNAs are the sole anesthesia professionals in nearly 100 percent of rural hospitals. For more information, visit and