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March 6, 1943


Author Affiliations

Providence, R. I.

JAMA. 1943;121(10):783-784. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840100069027

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To the Editor:—  In The Journal, January 16, the page caption for Dr. Burstein's paper on Paraldehyde Administration, "Hazard of Anesthesia," is misleading. A more fitting caption would have been "Hazard of Overdosage" or "Hazard of Intravenous Dosage." Paraldehyde has been extensively used in mental hospitals as a sedative. By reputation it is the safest of hypnotics, although pulmonary complications have followed continued administration of large doses. As a preoperative hypnotic, paraldehyde is an agent of distinct value. It is suited for rectal administration in a mixture with liquid petrolatum without need for special precautions in preparing the mixture. As it is excreted almost entirely by the lungs, it has no ill effect on liver or kidneys, a point of especial importance if these organs are already diseased. In 1935, intravenous administration of pure paraldehyde as an anesthetic was suggested by Beaumachin, Springer and Elliott, but only for the briefest

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