Anaesthetic Guidelines

General Anaesthetic can be dangerous for people with DM. Often Medical Professionals are not 100% aware of the severity of the danger, so we have produced a reference guide.

This is helpful to print off and take to appointments with you.

Basic Anaesthetic Guidelines.

**sourced from MDUK Complex Care plans and DM Specialist advice**

I am at risk of anaesthetic complications because of my Neuromuscular Condition – Myotonic Dystrophy. (Please don’t confuse with Muscular Dystrophy as DM has specific risks)

I am at increased risk of Cardiac Dysrhythmia and Ventricular Impairment and should be on a continuous ECG after any General Anaesthetic, for a minimum of 24-48 hours – to catch any symptoms early.

I may be extremely sensitive to, or develop a reaction to certain anaesthetic agents, including malignant hyperthermia.

Suxamethonium MUST BE AVOIDED in GA.

During any GA, the room should be warmed or warming blankets used. And fluids should be warmed to room temperature to avoid myotonia during the operation.

I should be allowed to wake naturally, and not have breathing equipment removed until I am fully awake.

I am at risk of delayed recovery after GA or sedation and will need a higher level of post-operative care.

It is imperative there is a HDU/ICU bed available for planned procedures.

I will need to be on a continuous SATS monitor to monitor my O2 levels, for a minimum of 24-48 hours as my condition has an increased risk of delayed issues.

I should be on a continuous ECG for 24 hours to enable any changes to be found early. These can be delayed in Myotonic Dystrophy.

I may have a higher risk of Pneumonia because of Aspiration and weak respiratory muscles, specifically after a GA.

I may be more sensitive to the effects of opioid analgesics and sedatives as these may worsen my breathing function and consciousness.

AVOID Morphine and associated opioids after any GA.

Please do not give me oxygen without monitoring my Carbon Dioxide Levels



Please contact the following people for advice:

NMCCC (Neuromuscular Complex Care Centre) – 0203 448 3794

Dr Ian Bowler – Consultant Anaesthetist and DM Specialist: 02920 716860

My Neuromuscular Care Advisor:

MY Consultant Neurologist:

Other specialists involved in my care:


You can download a printable version by clicking here.