Nitrous oxide: Sense or nonsense
for today's anaesthesia

Schonherr ME, Hollmann MW, Graf B.
Klinik fur Anaesthesiologie,
Universitat Heidelberg.
Anaesthesist. 2004 Aug 17


Nitrous oxide has been used in addition to other volatile anaesthetics to provide general anaesthesia and short time sedation for more than 150 years. However, the exact mechanisms of action remain unclear. For decades nitrous oxide was considered to be the ideal anaesthetic because of his favourable physical properties and low cardiovascular side effects. However, the known side effects of nitrous oxide as well as the implementation of new anaesthetic agents and short acting opiates led to more and more criticism about the administration of this gas. Nitrous oxide is still frequently used for mask induction primarily in paediatric anaesthesia and gynaecology. However, recent studies have shown that omitting nitrous oxide can also be a risk factor because of an increased susceptibility to intraoperative awareness. Careful consideration of the illustrated contraindications and side effects as well as the available alternatives, shows that nitrous oxide is still an option in general anaesthesia.
Nitrous oxide
Horace Wells
Nitrous oxide
William Morton
Inhaled anaesthetics
Rats on nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide inhalation
200 years of laughing gas
Nitrous oxide plus ethanol
Nitrous oxide: 'laughing gas'
The nitrous oxide philosopher
Nitrous oxide: adverse effects
Beta-endorphin/nitrous oxide withdrawal

and further reading
Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World