Need for the present day reviving interest in nosology is illustrated by the terminology used in this symposium. By derivation, the meaning of anoxia is "without oxygen," a condition incompatible with life and therefore scarcely a suitable word to use in clinical discussions. For want of such a word as "hypo-oxia" or "hypoxia," anesthetists are in the habit of using the clumsy expressions "oxygen want," "oxygen lack" and "oxygen deficit."
Illness, injury and the exigencies of surgery cause pain and often an associated oxygen want. Pain relieving drugs have side effects which interfere with the mechanism of respiration. Hence if suffering is to be safely abolished or even minimized, the prevention and treatment of oxygen want must go hand in hand with drug administration. The delivery of oxygen from the respired atmosphere to cells of the central nervous system may be thought of as a transport mechanism. A simple diagram
WATERS RM. ANOXIA: THE ANESTHETIST'S POINT OF VIEW. JAMA. 1940;115(20):1687–1690. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810460019005
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