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August 16, 1985

Nitrous Oxide/N2O

Author Affiliations

Columbus Hospital Northwestern University Medical School Chicago


edited by Edmond I. Eger II, 369 pp, with illus, $37.50, New York, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co Inc, 1985.

JAMA. 1985;254(7):968-969. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360070114043

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Few drugs in current use have enjoyed such long-standing and widespread popularity as nitrous oxide. Introduced to medicine in the 1840s amid bitter controversy about whom to credit with the discovery of anesthesia, this ubiquitous agent is once again generating heated discussions. Some respected leaders in anesthesiology, such as Dr Eger, favor abandoning nitrous oxide because of possible toxic sequelae of its use. The appearance now of this thorough, balanced, multiauthored monograph will elicit a sigh of relief from the practicing anesthesiologist or dentist who would eschew dogma and evaluate the facts.

The chapters progress from traditional to recent topics. Early on, subjects familiar to anesthesiologists are reviewed: pharmacokinetics, cardiovascular effects, respiratory effects, use in obstetrics, and so forth. Four subsequent chapters present established data not as well known to many who practice anesthesia. The reader learns the mechanisms of nitrous oxide metabolism in the body and the nature and