Study says redheads are harder to sedate

  1. Hi all!

    I am an "aspiring" CRNA I haven't even gotten into nursing school yet; I have a long way to go (I recently applied to a BSN program). However, I love the field of anesthesia. So, I hope you ladies and gentlemen don't mind me browsing your board and asking questions here and there about your experiences.

    I found this study fascinating, as I am a redhead and can attest to this phenomenon. The most recent episode was when pregnant with my second child, I had a cerclage placement. When I got into the OR, the nurses prepped me and the CRNA gave me an epidural. Time went by; still could move my legs. So CRNA gave me more. My doctor comes in ready to begin and I tell him, "I can still feel my legs." He says, "You may think you feel your legs, but you are just feeling the effects of the meds." So, I start moving my legs and tell him, "See, I can feel my legs." Horrified, the CRNA gave me even more...the max I could get. Well, a few more minutes and the doctor decided to start, even though I could still wiggle toes. Let me just tell you, I could feel every stitch and needle prick...I was crying and upset on the table (really mad at my doctor, not the CRNA...the doctor was in too big a rush to get my procedure over with). The CRNA was really aggitated at the doctor too...I could tell. I should have started out by saying that the anesthesiologist/CRNA/and my doctor (all three of them) argued before the procedure because I wanted an epidural and my doctor (being in a rush) tried to get me to have a spinal block...the anesthesiologist, CRNA, and I won the argument in the end (we were on the same side).

    Needless to say, AFTER the procedure was done, my legs were finally completely numb. It took about an hour or more for the meds to work on me...too bad it was "after" the procedure and not 'during.' I adored my anesthsiologist and my CRNA, as it was that CRNA that held my hand and stroked my hair for comfort during my ordeal. I tear up whenever I think of the compassion he had for me, as well as the disappointment he felt. As the CRNA put it, "I feel as if I failed you." Tears rolling, I told him, "No was YOU who held my hand through the procedure and YOU who backed me up in the OR while my doctor decided that his golf game or whatever he was in a rush for was more important than his patient on the operating table. There is nothing for you to be sorry for." Then my doctor entered the recovery room and I let him have it. Seriously, the CRNA knew I was not numb for the procedure and backed me up and could tell it wasn't 'nerves' as the doctor tried to imply.

    As a redhead, I have a found that anesthesia meds seem to take much longer to take 'effect', at least in the case of epidurals. Have any of you experienced this when working on redheaded patients? I'm curious Also, I wanted you all to know, from a patient perspective, how very special you are and how appreciative I am of the work you do. Thank you!
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    About michele742

    Joined: Apr '11; Posts: 111; Likes: 28
    RN; from US
    Specialty: OR


  3. by   michele742
    Sorry guys! Here is a better link...the other one, for some reason, asks you to "login"...Here, this one will link:
  4. by   CRNA1982
    There are many studies that suggest redheads require more anesthesia. I have personally seen this on several occasions. Therefore, I always consider this before I anesthetize a redhead. I will say that this phenomenon is not 100% accurate. I have also had redheads that did not require any more anesthetic than the average patient. I always treat each patient according to their needs; if they require more than the average anesthetic....I just give the patient what they need until the desired effect is achieved. It is amusing to see what individuals pain thresholds are under an anesthetic. The other day I gave a 65 y/o lady 300 mcg of Fentanyl (titrating to resp. rate) for a knee scope and later that same day give a 30 y/o man 150 mcg for the same procedure.
  5. by   Neuro Guy NP
    Yes, I completely agree that this phenomenon exists, although it is poorly understood. Your CRNA was great, though, he should have put his foot down harder. That would have been perfectly within his ability. He could have said "no anesthesia, no procedure." It's all about patient safety and comfort. The MD's golf game or whatever could have waited. He should know that medicine is not a M-F 8-5 job.