Lying on the operating table, conscious but unable to speak or move, Renae Bates was surrounded by doctors who didn’t know she was struggling to stay alive.“I was just trying so hard to move to tell them I couldn’t breathe,” said Renae recalling what happened when she woke up after a tonsillectomy five years ago.Renae, a 28 year-old account manager for an architectural firm in Australia, is among the five percent of people who have pseudocholinesterase deficiency, which increases the risk of prolonged paralysis after the administration of drugs used during anesthesia. 23andMe reports data for three of the most common genetic variants associated with pseudocholinesterase deficiency. But at the time of her surgery, Renae hadn’t yet tested with 23andMe.
When she first tested with 23andMe, it wasn’t for any other reason but curiosity. Her husband is in medical school and both were interested in the science.“The results were really interesting,” Renae said. “All the disease risks, that and the drug response information, it’s like a big package deal.”But she also noticed that her tests showed she had the variants that are associated with pseudocholinesterase deficiency. Clearly it would have been helpful to know that before the surgery.“If you are at increased odds for this, I absolutely suggest getting a medical ID bracelet, both for your sanity and the hospital staff,” she said.
Results not typical. Results vary due to unique differences in each individual’s DNA. On average, users receive at least one or two results that may help with proactively managing health. 23andMe’s services are not a substitute for professional medical or diagnostic advice.