ANESTHESIA DEFINITIONNot all anesthetics used are universal. There are a variety of combinations of medication used to perform the same task, and each may have a different effect on the body. Doctors of anesthesia, or anesthesiologists, generally confer with the patient when possible to determine the best combination of medications for the patient’s needs and ultimately the least trauma to the body.
Anesthesia can be administered to the patient through either gas or via in intravenous delivery. Intravenous delivery of anesthesia results in a faster onset of complete unconsciousness. Intravenous delivery can take full effects within 10 to 20 seconds, while inhaled induction may take as long as a minute. Once the patient has effectively been rendered unconscious, intravenous medications will keep the patient in the preferred state for 5 to 10 minutes. Regardless of any type of anesthesia, the patient’s state of unconsciousness has to be maintained in order to prevent premature consciousness. Maintenance of unconsciousness involves the administering of additional medications while the patient is asleep.
The maintenance of anesthesia is basically keeping the levels of concentrated anesthetic in the brain below the necessary level to prevent wakefulness. However, the maintenance of unconsciousness is often attributed with physical side effects for the patient. The development of a computer controlled administering system helped to alleviate the archaic need for volatile anesthetics, which helps to alleviate the physical symptoms associated with anesthesia, such as vomiting, tremors, nausea, and anesthesia induced hypothermia. Medications can be administered prior to anesthesia to help alleviate potential complications associated with anesthesia.
ANESTHESIA COMPLICATIONSComplications and side effects from anesthesia can be severe. While most patients only experience mild effects, such as the sensation of being cold, mild nausea, and grogginess, some patients experience trouble breathing, heart dysfunction, difficulty waking, coma, and in rare instances, death.
It is not uncommon for patients who undergo anesthesia to experience difficulty breathing during the time they are unconscious. The mix of medication used to promote and maintain unconsciousness also strips the body of some reflexes such as coughing, which can protect the body against choking. This means that patients may experience foreign body obstruction during their time under anesthesia and are likely to never understand the difference upon waking.
ANESTHESIA SIDE EFFECTSPatients who undergo anesthesia for any reason are closely monitored. Heart monitors, oxygen saturation monitors, blood pressure monitors, as well as alarm systems for all types of unhealthy or dangerous body reactions are activated if the body shows signs of dangerously unresponsive involuntary reactions.
Anesthesia has allowed for new and improved life saving techniques, despite the risk of death or coma associated with its use. Physicians have been able to operate more extensively and perform radical new advancements in surgical procedures due to the advancements of anesthesia. The continuing advancements of anesthesia has allowed for medical advancements that could have never been dreamed of before the use of anesthesia. Advancements are making the process safer to allow physicians to focus life saving techniques in the surgical ward rather than practice life saving techniques associated with complications related to anesthesia.