20 Years of Anesthesia Advances Culminates in Nationwide Data Collection System

The last 20 years might be considered the "golden age" for advances in anesthesiology, culminating in the first nationwide system for the collection of data that includes individual anesthesia problems in real cases, established in Oct. 2011, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

Anesthesia-related deaths have decreased over the last 25 years from two per 10,000 anesthetics administered to one per 200,00-300,000. The American Society of Anesthesiologists says a person is more likely to be hit by lightning than to die from anesthesia-related complications.

Many of the developments involve the use of different intravenous drugs to achieve sedation, unconsciousness, pain prevention and amnesia. Each drug is carefully controlled to meet each patient's needs, and the use of multi-modal anesthesia is able to decrease post-operative nausea and vomiting. According to W. Scott Jellish, MD, chairman of anesthesiology at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, anesthesiologists also use shorter-acting inhalants that help patients wake up more easily.

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