Research: Anaesthetics no Risk to MS

Epub: Hedström AK, Hillert J, Olsson T, Alfredsson L. Exposure to anaesthetic agents does not affect multiple sclerosis risk. Eur J Neurol. 2013 Jan. doi: 10.1111/ene.12098.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: It has been hypothesized that exposure to anaesthetic agents, some of which are chemically related to organic solvents, may affect the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study was to estimate the influence of occupational exposure to anaesthetic agents on the risk for MS. We further aimed to investigate the impact of general anaesthesia and usage of nitrous oxide.

METHODS: This report is based on two population-based, case-control studies, one with incident cases (1798 cases, 3907 controls) and one with prevalent cases (5216 cases, 4701 controls). Using logistic regression, the occurrence of MS among subjects who have been exposed to anaesthetic agents was compared with that of those who have never been exposed by calculating the odds ratio with a 95% confidence interval.

RESULTS: No association was found between occupational exposure to anaesthetic agents and risk of developing MS, also general anaesthesia or usage of nitrous oxide had no impact on MS risk.

CONCLUSIONS: Neither occupational exposure to anaesthetic agents, nor general anaesthesia or usage of nitrous oxide has any impact on MS risk and is safe also for people with a genetic susceptibility to the disease.

The conclusions say it all.

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1 comment

  • That's fine. Anesthetics don't cause MS. Good to know. You might want to reconsider your headline though.

    As someone who entered the operating room healthy and woke up with the symptoms of my first clinical MS flare, I can testify that there is some risk in combining surgery with someone with MS. It would also be interesting to ask an anesthesiologist if they modify their protocols for someone with known demyelinating disease. I won't choose that form of medical care again unless there really is no other option.

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