The anaesthetics are substances used to artificially abolish the sensation of pain or put a patient to sleep. They are administered for surgical operations and also for less invasive procedures, and for monitoring some major procedures.
There are four major categories of anaesthetics: opioids, hypnotics and neuromuscular blocking agents are used for general anaesthesia. They may be used in combination or administered alone. Anaesthetists and intensive care physicians use less potent substances for loco-regional anaesthesia. Depending on the type of anaesthesia used, the anaesthetics may be administered in the doctor's consulting room (particularly in dermatology) or in a hospital operating theatre.
How do the anaesthetics work?
Anaesthetic medicines generally act on nerve transmission. They block the messages and therefore inhibit the transmission of pain sensations to the brain. They can be administered intravenously, as a gas or by local injections.
Do they have contraindications or precautions?
The anaesthetics may cause potentially serious side effects: nausea or vomiting, drowsiness, altered consciousness or, far more seriously, respiratory depression. Some of these medicineshave contraindications. In particular, allergy to neuromuscular blocking agents, but also coagulation problems for the loco-regional anaesthetics.
Source: Interview with Dr Véronique Bazin, anaesthetist at the Nantes University Hospital, 16 June 2011
The anaesthetics are used to temporarily abolish pain. © Phovoir