FACTOID # 23: Wisconsin has more metal fabricators per capita than any other state.
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 


FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:



(* = Graphable)



Encyclopedia > Anesthetics

Anesthesia (AE), also anaesthesia (BE), is the process of blocking the perception of pain and other sensations. This allows patients to undergo surgery and other procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience. There are several forms of anesthesia:

Physicians specialising in the administration of anesthetics are known as anesthesiologists (AE) or anaesthetists (BE). Nurses specialising in the administration of anesthetics are known as nurse anesthetists (AE), who typically have gone to graduate school after nursing school, or have at leasted obtained certification as a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist). "Anesthetist", despite typically referring to nurses, can refer to a physician or a nurse. Studies have shown that rates of complications during anesthesia do not change depending on whether the anesthetist is a nurse or a physician--contrary to popular belief, nurse anesthetists are not second-rate anesthesia providers, or ones who work in only simple cases.



Non-pharmacological methods

Hypnotism and acupuncture have a long history of use as anaesthetic techniques.

Herbal derivatives

The first herbal anaesthesia was administered in prehistory. Opium and hemp were two of the most important herbs used. They were ingested or burned and the smoke inhaled. China, Taoist medical practitioners developed anaesthesia by means of acupuncture. In South America preparations from datura, effectively scopolamine, were used as was coca. In Medieval Europe various preparations of mandrake were tried as was henbane (hyoscyamine).

Early gases and vapours

The development of effective anaesthetics in the 19th century was, with Listerian techniques, one of the keys to successful surgery. Henry Hill Hickman experimented with carbon dioxide in the 1820s. The anaesthetic qualities of nitrous oxide (isolated by Joseph Priestley) were discovered by the British chemist Humphry Davy about 1795 when he was an assistant to Thomas Beddoes, and reported in a paper in 1800. But initially the medical uses of this so-called "laughing gas" were limited - its main role was in entertainment. It was used in December 1844 for painless tooth extraction by American dentist Horace Wells. Demonstrating it the following year, at Massachusetts General Hospital, he made a mistake and the patient suffered considerable pain. This lost Wells any support.

Another dentist, William E. Clarke, performed an extraction in January 1842 using a different chemical, sulfuric ether (discovered in 1540). In March 1842 in Danielsville, Georgia, Dr. Crawford Williamson Long was the first to use anaesthesia during an operation, giving it to a boy before excising a cyst from his neck; however, he did not publicize this information until later.

On the 16th of October 1846, another dentist, William Thomas Green Morton, invited to the Massachusetts General Hospital, performed the first public demonstration of sulfuric ether as an anesthetic agent, for a patient undergoing an excision of a tumour from his neck.

Despite Morton's efforts to keep "his" compound a secret, which he named "Letheon" and for which he received a US patent, the news of the discovery and the nature of the compound spread very quickly to Europe in late 1846. Here, respected surgeons, including Liston, Dieffenbach, Pirogoff, and Syme undertook numerous operations with ether.

Ether had a number of drawbacks. In England it was quickly replaced with chloroform. Discovered in 1831, its use in anaesthesia is usually linked to James Young Simpson, who, in a wide-ranging study of organic compounds, found chloroform's efficacy in 1847. Its use spread quickly and gained royal approval in 1853 when John Snow gave it to Queen Victoria during the birth of Prince Leopold.

Local anaesthetics

The first effective local anaesthetic was cocaine. Isolated in 1859 it was first used by Karl Koller in ophthalmic surgery in 1884. Prior to that doctors had used a salt and ice mix for the numbing effects of cold - which could only have limited application. Similar numbing was also induced by a spray of ether or ethyl chloride. Cocaine soon produced a number of derivatives and safer replacements, including procaine (1905), Eucaine (1900), Stovaine (1904), and lidocaine (1943).

Early opioids

Opioids were first used by Racoviceanu-Pitesti, who reported his work in 1901.

The twentieth century

Choice of anesthetic technique

The choice of anesthetic technique is a complex one, requiring consideration of both patient and surgical factors.

In certain patient populations, however, regional anesthesia may be safer than general anesthesia. Neuraxial blockade reduces the risk of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, transfusion, pneumonia, respiratory depression, myocardial infarction and renal failure[1] (http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/321/7275/1493)[2] (http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/321/7275/1493).

Related topics

External links

  • Patient information
    • Information for patients (http://www.gasnet.org/patientlinks.php)
    • Patient's guides and more anaesthesia-related information (http://www.oyston.com/anaes/)
  • Historical
  • American Society of Anaesthesiologists (http://www.asahq.org/)
  • A medical student's guide to anaesthesia from a patient's perspective (http://con.kolivas.net/)
  • Gasnet (http://www.gasnet.org/), a comprehensive anaesthesiology resource
  • Columbia Encyclopedia-Acupuncture (http://www.bartleby.com/65/ac/acupunct.html)
  • University of California Pain Alleviation and Anesthesia Exhibit (http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/biomed/his/painexhibit/index.html)

Health science - Medicine
Anesthesiology - Dermatology - Emergency Medicine - General practice _ Intensive care medicine _ Internal medicine - Neurology - Obstetrics & Gynecology - Pediatrics - Podiatry - Public Health & Occupational Medicine _ Psychiatry - Radiology - Surgery
Branches of Internal medicine
Cardiology - Endocrinology _ Gastroenterology - Hematology - Infectious diseases _ Nephrology - Oncology - Pulmonology - Rheumatology
Branches of Surgery
General surgery - Cardiothoracic surgery - Neurosurgery - Ophthalmology - Orthopedic surgery - Otolaryngology (ENT) _ Plastic surgery - Podiatric surgery - Urology _ Vascular surgery

  Results from FactBites:
It is specially formulated to penetrate intact skin, for the relief of pain caused by minor skin irritations, minor burns, minor cuts and insect bites.
Similar topical anesthetic creams are compounded by the other firms, and today’s action serves as a general warning to firms that produce standardized versions of these creams.
FDA is advising consumers who have questions or concerns about compounded topical anesthetic creams to contact their health care providers.
Mesothelioma SOS - Glossary - Anesthetic (230 words)
Anesthetic is a medically used substance that causes the loss of consciousness and feeling.
The choice of anesthetic method can be very complex, as patients will have to take into account both surgical factors and the advice of doctors and surgeons.
While there is little scientific evidence to support this idea, local anesthetic has many unfavorable side effects like confusion, dizziness, and nausea, which are not typically associated with regional anesthesia, typically making regional anesthesia a less dangerous choice.
  More results at FactBites »



Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m