Herbal medicines: current trends in anesthesiology practice--a hospital survey

J Clin Anesth. 2000 Sep;12(6):468-71. doi: 10.1016/s0952-8180(00)00195-1.


Study objectives: To develop a simple survey to determine the patient population actively utilizing dietary supplements and/or herbs, during the preoperative period.

Design: Prospective study, with survey instrument.

Setting: University medical center.

Patients: 1,017 patients presenting for preanesthetic evaluation prior to outpatient surgery.

Interventions: After undergoing preanesthetic evaluation, patients were asked to complete a survey listing which of the nine most popular nutraceuticals currently available on the market they were using.

Measurements and main results: A total of 1017 surveys were submitted over a period of five months, with 32% being poorly completed and thus discarded. Of the remaining 755 valid surveys, 482 patients used at least one nutraceutical agent. 90% of these patients were using vitamins, 43% garlic extracts, 32% Gingko Biloba, 30% St. John's Wort, 18% Ma Huang, 12% Ecchinaceae, 10% Aloe, 8% Cascare, 3% licorice.

Conclusion: A significant population of patients scheduled for an elective surgical procedure are self-administering nutraceutical agents. Some of these agents have the potential to cause serious drug interactions and hemodynamic instability during surgery. Hence, it may be important to identify patients self-administering these medications, during the preoperative period.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*