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DEFINITION

• The word was coined by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. in 1846.

• Anesthesia, or anaesthesia ("without sensation"), has traditionally meant the condition of having sensation

(including the feeling of pain) blocked or temporarily taken away. It is a pharmacologically induced reversible

state of amnesia , analgesia, loss of responsiveness, loss of skeletal muscle and/or decreased stress response.

• This allows patients to undergo surgery and other procedures without the distress and pain they would

otherwise experience.

• Another definition is a "reversible lack of awareness," whether this is a total lack of awareness (e.g. a general

anesthetic) or a lack of awareness of a part of the body such as a spinal anesthetic or another nerve block

would cause.