WILL & DENI MCINTYRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WILL & DENI MCINTYRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
General anaesthetic. An anaesthe- tist gives a general anaesthetic with a gas mask to a patient lying on an operating theatre table. Anaesthetic gases, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and halothane, are used to induce or maintain unconsciousness during surgery. Other drugs are also given to abolish pain, such as morphine, or to relax muscles, such as pancuronium, which makes manipulating tissue easier. Because anaesthesia can cause vomiting, slowed breathing and irregular heartbeat, the anaesthetist keeps a careful check on pulse and breathing throughout the operation.
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