Smyth, E.; Guthie, G.; Monson, J.
April 2003
Gut;Apr2003 Supplement 1, Vol. 52, pA111
Academic Journal
A recent warning from the American Society of Anaesthesiologists outlined the potential problems associated with the use of herbal medications. Prolonged anaesthesia (St Johns Wort) and an increased risk of bleeding (Ginko) during surgery or endoscopic procedures is cause for concern. Significant changes in heart rate and blood pressure in some patients have been reported. This is compounded by the fact that up to 70% of patients taking alternative medications do not disclose this fact to their doctors, believing that natural products must be safe. To estimate the scale of this problem we conducted a survey in the endoscopy unit over a 2 month period. Using standardised questionnaires we identified those patients taking daily herbal remedies. Tables 1 and 2 show the number of patients taking herbal medications by procedure and a break down of the individual products used. This study confirms the regular use of herbal products (notably St Johns Wort), in this group, which should be part of the patient's documented history and management plan prior to sedation and invasive endoscopy.


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