Terminology

Analgesia

The absence of normal sense of pain, relief from and control of pain.

 

Anesthesia

General anesthesia is the induction of a state of unconsciousness, amnesia (loss of memory), and analgesia (absence of pain sensation) over the entire body, through the administration of anesthetic drugs. It is used during certain medical and surgical procedures.

 

Anesthesia Assistants (AAs)

An anesthesia provider that completed a training program. Anesthesia Asistants are required to work under the direction of an anesthesiologist and can only practice in certain states.

 

Anesthesia Awareness

Awareness is extremely rare and occurs when a patient becomes conscious during a surgical procedure under general anesthesia and has recall of events. These cases rarely occur during high-risk surgery where the patient’s condition does not allow for the usual dosages of medications and gases to be given.

 

Anesthesia Machine

The machine used by anesthesia providers to deliver anesthetic gases and breathing during surgery. The machine has vital controls for the flow of oxygen, air, nitrous oxide, and anesthetic gases.

 

Anesthesiologist

A medical doctor who is specialized in the practice of anesthesiology.

 

Arterial Line

A catheter inserted into an artery. It is used to take a beat to beat reading of blood pressure.

 

Central Venous Catheter

A catheter passed through a large vein in the neck and ending in the thoracic vena cava. It is used to measure venous pressure or to infuse medications and IV solutions.

 

Clear Liquids

Clear liquids consist of any drink you can see through. For example, water, juices, and clear sodas. Nothing with pulp and avoid purple, red, and brown liquids.

 

Conscious Sedation

Medications are given to induce an altered state of consciousness that minimizes pain and discomfort, used in conjunction with local anesthesia during minor surgeries such as biopsies, minor fracture repair, colonoscopies, EGD, and dental surgery.

 

CRNA or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

A CRNA is a licensed advanced practice nurse who administers all types of anesthesia like an anesthesiologist. CRNAs work with surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, and may work in collaboration with anesthesiologists. They have advanced training and a master’s degree, are nationally certified and take a board exam. A CRNA is an anesthesia expert with a commitment to high standards in a demanding field. They administer all types of anesthesia for all types of surgical cases and provide regional anesthesia and pain management services.

 

Endotracheal tube (also called ET tube)

A breathing tube, usually made of flexible plastic, inserted into the trachea to provide a passageway for air and to ensure the airway remains open and protected. Also called tracheal tube.

 

Epidural anesthesia

Type of regional anesthesia produced by the injection of a local anesthetic into the epidural space (just outside the membrane that protects our spinal cord) of the lumbar or sacral region of the spine (lower back). Patient feels numbness from the abdomen or pelvis downward and is used especially to control pain during childbirth. Often a very small tube or catheter is left in place so you can receive more mediation as needed.

 

Extubation

Removal of the flexible breathing tube at the end of anesthesia.

 

Induction

In general anesthesia, where a patient slips from a conscious to an unconscious state after the administration of anesthetic drugs.

 

Intravenous Catheter (IV)

A catheter inserted into the vein(s) to give medications and fluids before, during and after surgery or a medical procedure.

 

Intubation/Intubate

Placement of a flexible plastic tube in the trachea to protect and support the airway and allow for mechanical or artificial respiration. This is usually done when the patient is asleep.

 

Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA)

A tube with an inflatable cuff that is inserted into the throat after going to sleep to manage breathing while unconscious, similar to an endotracheal tube; an LMA causes less irritation than an ETT and is useful in specific situations, though it does not prevent aspiration.

 

Laryngoscope

A device that permits the anesthetist to view the vocal cords to protect them from possible injury with placement of breathing tube.

 

Lidocaine

Medication used for local or regional anesthesia; can be injected or applied topically.

 

Local anesthesia

An injection or topical application of medication that causes that part of the body to become insensitive to pain and stimuli.

 

Nitrous Oxide

A colorless, sweet-tasting gas, N2O, used as a mild anesthetic in dentistry and surgery.

 

NPO

Nil per os, Latin for “nothing by mouth” Nothing per mouth or NPO refers to the direction of having nothing to eat or drink during a time period before surgery. Usually begins midnight the day before.

 

Propofol

Sedation medication given commonly for induction of anesthesia or for conscious sedation.

 

Regional Anesthesia

Medication used to anesthetize a portion of the body, such as an arm or leg. Examples are nerve blocks, epidurals and spinal anesthesia.

 

Sedative

Medication(s) given to induce a state of calm or make sleepy.

 

Spinal Anesthesia

A regional anesthetic technique where a local anesthetic is placed into the spinal canal using a very small needle. No catheter is left in place. The patient becomes completely numb and unable to move from about the bottom of the ribcage down to the toes. Patients can remain awake for the procedure (usually for a c-section) but they often receive sedation along with the spinal.

 

Ventilation

Movement of air into and out of the lungs.