oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Sedation for cases without local anaesthetic : SASA refresher text

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2220-1181
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1173



This overview will focus on sedation for painful diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, where the use of local analgesia is not feasible.

The first public demonstration of ether anaesthesia took place in 1846 in the Massachusetts General Hospital. It is unlikely that the anaesthetist, William Morton, could have foreseen that, one day, it would be possible to control the level of anaesthesia to meet specific requirements. This is possible through the development of rapid- and short-acting drugs, regulated by computer-driven infusions that visualise the relationship between drug and effect. The grey area between wakefulness and general anaesthesia is known as sedation (Figure 1).

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