General Anesthetics

General anesthetics depress the central nervous system (CNS) sufficiently to permit the performance of surgery and other noxious or unpleasant procedures. General anesthetics have low therapeutic indices and require great care in administration. While all general anesthetics produce a relatively similar anesthetic state, they differ in their secondary actions (side effects) on other organ systems. The selection of specific drugs and routes of administration to produce general anesthesia is based on their pharmacokinetic properties and on the secondary effects of the various drugs, in the context of the proposed diagnostic or surgical procedure and with the consideration of the individual patient's age, associated medical condition, and medication use. Anesthesiologists also employ sedatives (see Chapter 16), neuromuscular blocking agents (see Chapter 9), and local anesthetics (see Chapter 14)

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