History of Anaesthesia
Before proper anaesthetics were discovered, surgery was a terrifying last resort or a final attempt to save life. Very few operations were possible and surgeons were judged by their speed. Earlier, few doctors had tried using sedatives like alcohol, morphine and others to dull the pain of surgery but generally all patients were held or strapped down, some luckily fainted from the agony. Many died. Though anaesthetics were administered from the early 1840s, the impact on general medical practice began only after William Morton publically administered ether to Gilbert Abbott on 16 October 1846 at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
In November 1847, James Simpson, Professor of Obstetrics in Edinburgh, introduced chloroform which became popular because it worked well and was easier to use than ether. However, it was more potent but could have severe side effects such as sudden death and late onset severe liver damage. Over the years other agents were introduced because of major advances and developments. The introduction of local anaesthesia in 1877 led to the introduction of infiltration anaesthesia, nerve blocks, spinal and epidural anaesthesia, then at the turn of the century came control of the airway using tubes placed in the trachea to help breathing. Anaesthesia is now very safe, with mortality of less than 1 in 250,000 directly related to anaesthesia. Nevertheless with today’s sophisticated monitoring systems and a greater understanding of bodily functions, the anaesthetic profession will continue to strive for improvement over the next 150 years. (Source: http://aagbi.org/heritage/history.htm)
Common Anaesthesia Products
Some of the common anaesthesia products used for giving anaesthesia or CPR are briefly mentioned below:
Artificial Resuscitators: Manual resuscitator (Ambu bag) is one of the most common devices used to ventilate and oxygenate patients in medical practice. Also known as bag valve mask, artificial resuscitator is a hand-held device used to provide positive pressure ventilation to a patient who is not breathing or who is breathing inadequately. The device is a normal part of a resuscitation kit for trained professional. Most devices comes with face mask and oxygen reservoir bag. Resuscitator can be disassembled for cleaning, disinfecting or autoclaving process. Bag valve masks come in different sizes to fit infants, children, and adults.
Anaesthesia Oxygen Masks: Face masks that are designed to provide general anaesthesia inhalation gas to operative patients are called anaesthesia masks. Anaesthesia masks are made of materials (anti static rubber or silicon) that are resistant to creating a spark or static electric discharge. The masks often use a Y fitting upon the mask and a double breathing hose system.
Rebreathing Bags: The usual function of the rebreathing bag is to act as a reservoir for the expired (and then rebreathed) gases in a rebreathing circuit or to be the instrument for propelling gases into the lungs during assisted ventilation. They are usually made in black antistatic rubber with a wide bore connector at the top.
Corrugated Tubes: Corrugated tubes are used for connecting components of anesthesia breathing circuits.
Guedel Pattern Airway: Also known as oropharyngeal airway, Guedel Pattern Airway is a medical device (airway adjunct) used to maintain a patent (open) airway. It does this by preventing the tongue from (either partially or completely) covering the epiglottis, which could prevent the patient from breathing. When a person is not conscious, the muscles in their jaw relax and may allow the tongue to obstruct the airway.
Reservoir Bags: Reservoir Bag is a rubber bag used during gas anaesthesia to store fresh gases supplied from the continuous flow anaesthetic machine during the expiratory phase, and to deliver this gas (or part of it) during inspiration. It may be used to assist ventilation of the patient’s lungs by squeezing it during inspiration.
Anaesthesia Machine: Also referred to as the anaesthetic trolley, anaesthesia machine is a trolley on which gas cylinders and/or pipelines for various gases used in anaesthesia, are mounted together with the various valves, controls and ancillary equipment used by the anaesthetist. Anaesthesia Machines are found in all operating theatres and also in special procedure rooms in the X-ray department, accident and emergency unit, dental clinics and some community clinic.
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