[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 15, 1992


Author Affiliations

Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn

JAMA. 1992;268(3):335-337. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490030047022

1992 marks the 150th anniversary of an important contribution of American medicine to humankind: the discovery of anesthesia. On March 30,1842, Dr Crawford Long successfully administered ether anesthesia to his patient James Venable to remove a tumor of the neck. Progress continues to be made by anesthesiologists to provide for the well-being of the anesthesized patient in a safe, cost-effective fashion.

Due to concerns for hemodynamic instability, neonates have received modest, if any, anesthesia for surgical procedures. Commonly, this results in "light anesthesia" with a muscle relaxant administered for immobilization. Anand and Hickey1 in a randomized, prospective study addressed the question of whether deeper levels of anesthesia, by blunting the neonatal stress response to pain, improve clinical outcome. Using neonates undergoing cardiac operations, light anesthesia (halothane-morphine) was compared to "deep anesthesia" (the opioid sufentanil). The deeply anesthetized infants had a significantly lower mortality rate than the light anesthesia group