Awareness during Anaesthesia

  • V. A. Peduto
Conference paper


A patient agreeing to have an operation performed under general anaesthesia expects to be unconscious and free from pain or unpleasant sensations during the surgical procedure. In fact, the introduction of muscle relaxants into anaesthetic practice made it possible for patients to be kept immobile while conscious. The advantages of light anaesthesia for major surgery became apparent, with much less circulatory depression, so it was adopted. However, the signs of anaesthesia were blurred, up to extinction, and a complication arose: “conscious awareness”. Patients can be completely aware during the whole operation or, more frequently, part of it; they may be oriented in time and space, realize that the operation is in progress, feel pain and other sensations, and hear conversation — a horrific experience.


Nitrous Oxide Anaesthetic Agent Implicit Memory Explicit Memory Conscious Awareness 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 1997

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  • V. A. Peduto

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