hair color and anesthesia, no kidding

  1. Ok, have any of you students or practitioners heard (or seen?) this one?
    Supposedly, according to a study (only 20 women, hardly merits the term "study" IMHO) at the University of Louisville, "red hair is the first known visible genetic trait that indicates how much anesthesia a person needs." The redheads needed about 20% more anesthetic than brunettes...supposedly "because of a genetic variation that produces red pigment also triggers higher levels of the hormone that increases pain sensitivity....."
    Now, I know we "reds" are histamine releasers, and bleeders....but come on!
  2. Visit BRobison profile page

    About BRobison

    Joined: May '02; Posts: 50


  3. by   sunnygirl272
    yes..have heard this..

    melinda, a blonde
  4. by   NurseDennie
    I've heard it too. I don't know about histamine releasing - I've spent HOURS with my head stuck in a spreadsheet and my eyeballs are rattling around like marbles. I definitely am a "free bleeder" didn't know it had anything to do with redhairishness.

    I don't know if the study is valuable, either. I think I have a rather above-average pain tolerance. JMHO

    Well, I do put a brown rinse on my hair to tone down the red - perhumps it also affects the other traits. LOL (no, I know that's not true - I'm not quiteTHAT rattled. )


  5. by   NancyRN
    I'd like to see this study. I'm a redhead and I've always needed more anesthetic at the dentist. I always just figured I was a wuss!
  6. by   tattooednursie
    Hmmmmm I wonder how much for blue and red hair? and a little brown and blonde . . . . I have got a little of everything . . . Its all natural BTW.
  7. by   kids
    Originally posted by NancyRN
    I'd like to see this study. I'm a redhead and I've always needed more anesthetic at the dentist. I always just figured I was a wuss!
    Wow...this is kinda freaky...The dentist usually ends up doing nerve blocks to get me numb enough to do any major work...and while I prefer to call my natural color strawberry blond it is *sigh* in carrot. I tone it down to a goldeny blond. And my name is Nancy...and I'm an RN.
  8. by   nilepoc
    Red hair phenotype

    Is the link to the first thread on this.

    I would have to say that this is a study that will need to proove itself more. Without a biggerr N, it rests in the realm of cold fusion and Anecdotal medicine.

  9. by   BRobison
    well, sometimes, that anecdotal medicine has some value; I've never seen any studies that "prove" the histamine thing, but I've seen it happen enough that I believe it, enough so that I prepare for it, anyway (but maybe hives, etc, just show up more easily on fair skin?) and when I myself tried to bleed out after a normal non-complicated delivery, I decided to believe the bleeding part, too. But the pain thing...hadn't heard of or seen that. And yes, it's a darn small N to draw much of a conclusion from, other than "may merit more study." Oh, and NurseDennie, I suggested to the OB nurse that I'd color my hair before any future deliveries, and she wasn't amused......Go figure. Ok. Back to more serious work/topics!
    Originally posted by BRobison
    well, sometimes, that anecdotal medicine has some value
    Ditto. We consider it a valuable piece of information not to be left out if the patient happens to be a redhead.

    Never heard of the anesthesia thing though.

  11. by   OzNurse69
    Yes, yes, yes!! Again, just anecdotal, but on the colo-rectal ward I worked on, we ALWAYS got extra analgesia written up for the redheads - just in case. And often ended up using it too. Our regular surgeons used to just laugh, but they still took our word for it & ended up doing what we asked. And we were always prepared for a bleed post-op - again, they usually didn't disappoint us.
  12. by   BBFRN
    I work at the University of Louisville Hospital, and it's true, we did that study. Personally, I think it needed to be done in another hospital that offered more elective procedures. Since these people had to volunteer to be part of the study, they might have found more people to participate. Most of our elective procedures are GI or OB related, and we only have about 40 beds for them. The rest of our beds (aside from Bone Marrow) are Trauma beds. They advertised for months to get people who were already planning elective procedures to volunteer, but a lot of people weren't willing to participate in a study involving their anesthesia- who could blame them.
    Last edit by BBFRN on Dec 12, '02
  13. by   renerian
    I read an article that eluded to that fact.


Must Read Topics