Anesthesia Requirements for Redheads

As the melanocortin-1 receptor gene was not discovered until 1995, only anecdotal observation supported that redheads had an increased anesthetic requirement. Utilizing relatively recent research, this project aimed to enhance the knowledge regarding the anesthetic requirements for redheads among student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs). Interestingly, there was a decided perspectival shift in the opinion of literature reviewed between 2004 and 2015. Earlier studies were supportive of an increased anesthetic requirement of redheads, while more recent studies discouraged such an approach. It is possible that the later studies relied on self-reported hair phenotype, rather than analysis of genetic makeup of the MC1R genotype. Given this, it is plausible that there is a significant difference in the anesthetic requirements of redheads, depending on whether they are homozygous, heterozygous, or compound heterozygous. Therefore, current literature was reviewed, synthesized, and presented simultaneously to two cohorts of SRNAs at Adventist University (ADU). The project’s efficacy was determined by comparing the scores of an identical pre- and post-test.