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An anesthesiologist assistant is a physician assistant specialist trained to administer anesthesia. In the United States, an anesthesiologist assistant must complete two and a half years of training in a CAAHEP accredited anesthesiologist assistant program after obtaining a baccalaureate degree and required medical prerequisites.

In the operating room, an anesthesiologist assistant, who is supervised by an anesthesiologist, practices with a great deal of autonomy administering anesthetic drugs and recognizing and treating surgical complications, such as sudden MI and Hypotensive crisis. The anesthesiologist assistant is trained to assess potential complications prior to surgery by obtaining a thorough physical assessment and history. After surgery, the anesthesiologist assistant monitors the patient until vital signs are stable and he or she gains consciousness.

Anesthesia History

For thousands of years anesthesia has been used to alleviate pain. Countless drugs have been used to relax and decrease pain, such as alcohol, cannabis and opium to name a few. Although these drugs helped alleviate anxiety and pain prior to minor surgery they helped very little with blocking painful lengthy operations involving the inside of the body.

* American surgeon, Crawford Long- was first to use ether for surgery in 1842 but did not publish his results until 1849.
* American dentist, Horace Wells- began using nitrous oxide in 1844.

* American dentist, William Morton- used ether for general anesthesia in 1846.

* British physician, Sir James Simpson- was first to discover the anesthetic properties of chloroform in 1847.

Conscious Sedation - the goal of these medications are to reduce the patients anxiety while still maintaining protective reflexes, ability to cough and to respond to verbal commands. When using conscious sedation, the patient may also have very little or no recollection of the minor surgical procedure.

Anesthesiologist Assistant, Anesthesia Assistant, anesthetist assistant

Anesthesiology in the United States

In the beginning of the 20th century, anesthesiology became an established branch of medicine.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists was founded in 1905 which sets standards of ethics and safety for anesthesiologists.

The Board of Anesthesiology was established in 1938, which maintains educational standards.

1.What was the first intravenous anesthetic? The first intravenous anesthetic was Sodium pentothal, which was introduced by John Lundy, an American physician.

2.What muscle relaxant discovered by Native American tribes in South America for hunting was first used in surgery in 1942? The muscle relaxant Curare.

3.Why is Ether considered a dangerous inhalation anesthetic? Because it can damage the lungs and can be severe enough to cause death. Breathing low concentrations will cause coughing and nose, and throat irritation. Ether is also flammable. For Ether facts visit

4.Why is Chloroform considered a dangerous inhalation anesthetic? Inhaling high levels of chloroform for long periods of time may damage your liver and kidneys. For Chloroform facts visit-

Contributed by Monica Winefryde Furlong, M.B., Ch.B., M.D.
Author of Going Under: Preparing Yourself for Anesthesia
And by "Anesthesia, "Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2005 - 1997-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights Reserved.