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The Future Of Anesthesia

Since World War II, many changes have taken place in anesthesiology. Important discoveries have been made with such volatile liquids as halothane and synthetic opiates. The technology of delivery systems has been greatly improved. But with all these changes, the basic goal of anesthesia has been the same—the control of a motionless surgical field in the patient. In the next 50 years it is possible that the goals of anesthesia will be widened. The role of anesthesia will broaden as newer surgical techniques develop in the area of organ transplants. Anesthesia may also be used in the future to treat acute infectious illness, mental disorders, and different types of heart conditions. There may be a wide range of new therapeutic applications for anesthesia.

Anesthesiologists compete strongly for research funds. Better trained anesthesiologists need to do research to gain further knowledge on the effects and mechanisms of anesthesia. Since understanding and controlling pain is the central problem of anesthesiology, it will be necessary to gain more knowledge about the mechanism of pain and pain control. New anesthetics, delivery, and monitoring systems will need to be developed to keep up with the pace of medical development as it moves closer to noninvasive surgical techniques.

See also Analgesia; Novocain.



Barash, Paul G., Bruce F. Cullen, and Robert K. Stoelting. Clinical Anesthesia. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1992.

McKenry, Leda M. and Evelyn Salerno. Mosby's Pharmacology in Nursing. Philadelphia: Mosby, 1989.

Jordan P. Richman


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—A simple chlorinated hydrocarbon compound consisting of one carbon atom, one hydrogen atom, and three chlorine atoms. One of several early gases, along with ether and nitrous oxide, that opened the way for the successful pharmacological use of anesthesia.


—A mental state involving awareness of the self and the environment..


—An important, current volatile liquid anesthetic.

Lipid solubility

—The ability of a drug to dissolve in fatty tissue.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ambiguity - Ambiguity to Anticolonialism in Middle East - Ottoman Empire And The Mandate SystemAnesthesia - History Of Anesthesia, Nitrous Oxide, Chloroform, Emergence Of Anesthesiology, Types Of Anesthesia, Theory Of The Mechanism Of Anesthesia - Ether