Anesthesia facts

Monday, October 11, 2010

  • Anesthesia, traditionally meant the condition of having sensation blocked or temporarily taken away.
  • Anesthesia allows patients to undergo surgery and other procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience.
  • Types of anesthesia include local anesthesia, regional anesthesia, general anesthesia, and dissociative anesthesia.
  • The first effective local anesthetic was cocaine. 
  • A number of newer local anesthetic agents, many of them derivatives of cocaine, were synthesized in the 20th century, including procaine (1905), Eucaine (1900), Stovaine (1904), and lidocaine (1943).
  • Incan shamans chewed coca leaves and performed operations on the skull while spitting into the wounds they had inflicted to anesthetize the site.
  • Ancient herbal anesthetics have variously been called soporifics, anodynes, and narcotics, depending on whether the emphasis is on producing unconsciousness or relieving pain.
  • U.S. statistics show that over the past few decades, the risk of death from all forms of anesthesia has dropped from 1 in 4,500 in 1970 to 1 in 400,000 today.
  • An estimated 40 million anesthetics are administered each year in the U.S. Anesthesiologists provide or participate in more than 90% of these anesthetics.
  • Anesthesia awareness occurs during general anesthesia, on the operating table, when the general anesthetic or analgesic provided to render the patient unconscious during general anesthesia is not effective but the agents used to paralyze the patient are. This means that the patient is unable to move or speak, but is awake or conscious to some degree, hearing and feeling the entire procedure.

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