Though anesthesia with thiopental (pentothal®) sodium has gained widespread acceptance by patient, surgeon, and anesthesiologist, it is well known that this agent possesses certain characteristics that are disadvantageous and, at times, dangerous to the patient. These characteristics are as follows:
It causes respiratory depression during deeper levels of anesthesia with accompanying danger of respiratory acidosis.
It lacks analgesic properties.
It possesses parasympathomimetic properties and has a tendency to cause laryngeal spasm under certain conditions.
It has a tendency to cause postoperative depression when it is used in large doses for prolonged anesthesia.
From earlier experiences with the use of small amounts of ether to supplement thiopental sodium for anesthesia, it seemed likely that most of these disadvantages could be eliminated or at least minimized. This study was designed to evaluate these impressions.
The technique of this method of anesthesia is simple but rather exacting if all of its advantages
Paulson JA. THIOPENTAL SODIUM AND ETHER ANESTHESIA. JAMA. 1952;150(10):983-987. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680100025008