Sodium amytal is the sodium salt of iso-amyl-ethyl barbituric acid. Barbituric acid derivatives have been used for years by pharmacologists and physiologists as hypnotics and occasionally as anesthetics. Fredet and Perlis were the first to succeed in inducing general anesthesia in man with compounds of this series. The preparation of sodium amytal in pure form, and in a sterile ampule together with a companion ampule of sterile distilled water sufficient to make a 10 per cent solution, enabled investigators to use in man a barbiturate producing general anesthesia by the intravenous route, that had been used successfully for several years in animal experimentation. In February, 1929, Zerfas and MacCallum published the first report of such a study.
Our interest in sodium amytal was aroused by the possibility of:
(1) Inducing a general anesthesia by a more direct method than with the inhalation anesthetics in which the lungs bear the brunt
CABOT H, MADDOCK WG, LAMB H. SODIUM AMYTAL: ANALYSIS OF INTRAVENOUS USE IN ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTYTWO SURGICAL OPERATIONS. Arch Surg. 1932;24(5):715–721. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1932.01160170002001
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