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(US), anesthetic
a substance that causes anaesthesia
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a substance that acts selectively on the central nervous system and induces a state of anesthesia.

The meaning of the term “anesthetic” has changed in the course of the development of pharmacology. Anesthetics used to include nervous-system depressants and stimulants, as well as many substances that only indirectly affect the nervous system. From the beginning of anesthetic practice, stimulants, depressants, and various indirectly acting substances were the principal anesthetics. Neurotropic agents with different types of action, for example, analgesic, somnifacient, and tranquilizing, are grouped separately. Application of the term “anesthetic” to denote substances of plant or synthetic origin that are narcotics—morphine, oxycodone, Trimeperidin. for instance—was determined by convention, as was the use of the term “narcotic” to convey the sense of “anesthetic.” The main requirements of an anesthetic are that it have broad action, that is, a significant range between the effective (anesthetic) and toxic doses; that it not produce complications; and that it have no aftereffects.

Anesthetics are classified as either inhalation or noninhalation, depending on the method of administration. Inhalation anesthetics are divided into volatile anesthetics, which include ethers, chloroform, trichloroethylene, halothane, and ethyl chloride, and into gaseous anesthetics, such as nitrous oxide and cyclopropane. Noninhalation anesthetics, for example, hexobarbital, sodium thiopental, and propanilid, are administered intravenously. Narcolan is introduced by rectum.

Often, a combination of anesthetics is used to weaken or completely compensate for any negative properties that one of the ingredients might have when used alone. Surgical procedures that involve certain physiological functions can require a combination of an anesthetic with other types of agents, such as muscle relaxants, antihistamines, cholinergic and adrenergic blocking agents, ganglioplegic agents, neuroleptics, and tranquilizers. A new kind of anesthesia has been developed, neuroleptoanalgesia, in which anesthesia is brought about using neuroleptics and analgesics without the use of anesthetics.


Zakusov, V. V. Farmakologiia nervnoi sistemy. Leningrad, 1953.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about an anesthetic?

To dream of being anaesthetized may represent the residue of a memory (e.g., from a medical operation). It could also reflect a desire to be relieved of some painful experience—physical, mental, or emotional.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A drug, such as ether, that produces loss of sensibility.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Importantly, in cardiac anesthesia volatile anesthetics it is still one of the most important pharmacologic resources for anesthesia maintenance; it is because this type of anesthesia has a better profile (cardioprotective and neuroprotective) than nonvolatile anesthesia.
(15.) Guler N, Kati I, Demirel CB, Bilge M, Eryonucu B, Topal C (2001), Effect of volatile anesthetics on QTc interval, Journal of Cardiothoracic Vascular Anesthesia 15 (2); 188-191.
Heart rate and blood pressure were maintained within 15% of the pre-incision values by adjusting the inspired concentration of the volatile anesthetic. Anesthesia was maintained with a total gas flow of 3 litre per minute using a semiclosed circuit (circle absorber system).
Haemodynamic parameters like changes in mean pulse rate, mean arterial pressure, arterial oxygen saturation(SpO2), end tidal carbon dioxide(EtCO2) were recorded before induction (control value), at induction, at 5min; 15min; 30min; 45min after volatile anesthetic is switched on after CO2 pneumoperitoneum is created, after CO2 removal{deflation}, at the end of surgery and postoperatively at 15min; 30 min.
State of the art: sedation concepts with volatile anesthetics in critically Ill patients.
Cytotoxic effects of volatile anesthetics with free radicals undergoing laparoscopic surgery.
Yoon et al., "The effects of volatile anesthetics on spontaneous contractility of isolated human pregnant uterine muscle: a comparison among sevoflurane, desflurane, isoflurane, and halothane," Anesthesia & Analgesia, vol.
Bartnicka et al., "Volatile anesthetics reduce invasion of colorectal cancer cells through down-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-9," Anesthesiology, vol.
Various studies conducted on the impacts of volatile anesthetics on the anti-oxidant system of different tissues showed controversial results.
Volatile anesthetics and liver injury: a clinical update or what every anesthesiologist should know.
Preconditioning with volatile anesthetics was shown to decrease apoptotic cell numbers and apoptosis regulatory protein levels both in vivo and in vitro (14,15).