Their goal is to provide a framework for physicians "practicing in the current environment of widespread herbal use" and to encourage patients and physicians to discuss the topic openly and in detail prior to surgery.
"While most of these substances appear to be safe for healthy people, for surgical patients they can affect sedation, pain control, bleeding, heart function, metabolism, immunity and recovery in ways that we are just beginning to understand," said study author Chun-Su Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of anesthesia and associate director of the Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research at the University of Chicago.
Studies suggest that as many as one-third of pre-surgical patients take herbal medications, but that many of those patients fail to disclose herbal use during pre-operative assessment, even when prompted. Further, physicians often are unsure what to do with the information.
"Physicians need to specifically ask patients about herbal medication use," said co-author Jonathan Moss, M.D., Ph.D, professor of anesthesia and critical care at the University. "Many patients think of herbal medications not as supplements but as drugs. Other patients may not want to admit to their use to physicians. But in order to optimize patient safety and pain control during and after surgery, we need to k
Contact: John Easton
University of Chicago Medical Center