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June 9, 1923


Author Affiliations

Manhattan, Kan.

JAMA. 1923;80(23):1712. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02640500054029

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To the Editor:  —In the editorial on the use of ethylene and acetylene as general anesthetics (The Journal, May 12), mention is made of the early works of Lewin, Rosemann and others, who reported marked anesthetic effects obtained by using acetylene on animals. It would be well to point out, however, that these men were working with impure acetylene from crude carbid, which now is known to contain poisonous impurities, particularly phosphin and hydrogen sulphid. In fact, Chuard (Bull. Soc. chim. 17:678, 1897) attributes its effectiveness as an insecticide in certain cases to the phosphin it contains. In view of these facts, we cannot look on the work of these men as a reliable test of acetylene as an anesthetic.For some months, work has been carried on in the laboratories of physiologic chemistry at the Kansas State Agricultural College on the effects of purified acetylene as a general anesthetic

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