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The era of the "gas-passers" is long since gone.

Fondly known as the "gaspassers" by their medical colleagues decades ago, the practitioners of the art of anesthesia have come a long way.

Not only have they developed a host of new and efficient anesthetic drugs, but their ranks include a very large percentage of specially trained nurses who provide more than half of the anesthetics delivered to patients in the United States each year.

These are the certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). Their professional organization, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), offers two new brochures designed to educate patients and their families about anesthesia. Patients should ask the person who will provide their anesthesia these questions (among others):

- What type of anesthesia will be used? How will it be administered and monitored?

- What do you need to know about my medical history (such as previous surgeries, allergies, medications, drug or alcohol use, etc.)?

- How will I feel after surgery? Are there any precautions I should take?

The pre-anesthesia brochure, "Before Anesthesia: Your Active Role Assists Recovery," gives a succinct summary of how the patient can assist in the recovery process.

It is natural to experience some fear of a general anesthesia - wondering if one will really wake up, and if so, how miserable it may make one feel. Not to worry! Today, skilled anesthetists use general anesthetic agents that, mostly, are remarkably gentle. One injectable drug (Versed, for example, often used for short outpatient surgical procedures) can render the patient unconscious so quickly and, equally quickly, bring one back to full consciousness, that there is no sensation of anything having happened in the interim - and with no aftereffects.

(To obtain copies of the two brochures, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, 222 South Prospect Avenue, Park Ridge, IL 60068.)
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Title Annotation:anesthesiologists
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Mar 1, 1995
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