Timeline of anesthesiology
This is a timeline of anesthesiology, listing important events in the development of the field.
|Time period||Development summary|
|Ancient times||Attempts to alleviate the pain of disease, injury or simple surgical procedures by inducing unconsciousness are almost as old as civilization itself. Most involve ingestion of ethanol and or herbal mixtures, but ‘knock-out’ blows to the head and carotid artery compression (carotid derives from the Greek for stupor) are also described.|
|Middle ages||Di-ethyl ether, the first agent to be demonstrated successfully in public, is originally synthesized (by the action of sulphuric acid on ethanol) in the 13th century, and there are early reports of both analgesic and soporific effects.|
|19th century||During most of the century, the vast majority of notable advances in the science of anesthesiology are achieved by basic scientists. Among physiologists, Jean Pierre Flourens, François Magendie, and Claude Bernard are respected for their work on the effects and site of action of anesthetic gases. Pharmacologists and chemists, including Joseph von Mering, Hans Meyer, and Charles Overton, synthesize novel drugs and investigate the properties that enabled a chemical to function as an anesthetic. Surgeons, obstetricians, and dentists contribute the bulk of clinical advances in the field. Most of the practicing anesthetists function primarily as technicians who make meager contributions to advancing the scientific underpinnings of the discipline. This would begin to change in the late nineteenth century. In the 1980s, a movement opposing all types of human suffering is promoted by surgeon English physician Henry Hill Hickman.|
|20th century||The anaesthetic machine is introduced. By 1950 all of the elements of modern anaesthesia are in place. Very few of the drugs of that time are still in use, but their modern successors are really only improvements on the same theme.|
|c.4000 BC||Drug||Opium poppy is depicted in Sumerian artifacts.|
|c.2250 BC||Field development||Babylonians relieve toothache with henbane (Hyoscyamus niger).|
|c.1600 BC||Field development||Acupuncture is practiced in China.||China|
|c.600 BC||Drug||Indian physician Sushruta uses cannabis vapors to sedate surgical patients. Over ensuing centuries, other herbs like aconitum would supplement that sedation in India and eventually in China.||India|
|c.400 BC||Field development||Assyrians use carotid compression to produce brief unconsciousness before circumcision or cataract surgery. Egyptians employ the same technique for eye surgery.|
|64 AC||Drug||Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides recommends mandrake boiled in wine to "cause the insensibility of those who are to be cut or cauterized."|
|c.160 AC||Field development||Chinese physician Hua Tuo performs surgery with his general anesthetic Mafeisan, a wine and herbal mixture.||China|
|500||Field development||Hippocrates describes BC Opium analgesia.|
|c.800 – 1200s||Field development||Herbal mixtures including opium, mandrake, henbane, and/or hemlock are introduced and steeped into a soporific or sleep-bearing sponge ("spongia somnifera"). The sponge is dampened so that anesthetic vapors or drippings can be applied to a patient's nostrils. These sponges are likely historical cousins to the so-called Roman or Arabic sponges (used during crucifixions, surgeries, and other painful events).|
|c.1350||Field development||Inca shamans chew coca leaves mixed with vegetable ash and drip their cocaine-laden saliva into the wounds of patients.||South America|
|1540||Field development||German physician Valerius Cordus describes a revolutionary technique to synthesize ether, which involves adding sulfuric acid to ethyl alcohol. Cordus synthesizes diethyl ether by distilling ethanol and sulphuric acid into what he calls "sweet oil of vitriol."|
|1596||Field development||The South American arrow poison is described.|
|1628||Literature||English physician William Harvey publishes in Frankfurt his completed treatise on the circulatory system, Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus, establishing the circulation of the blood.||Germany|
|1659||Field development||Anglo-Irish chemist Robert Boyle pioneers intravenous therapy by injecting opium through a goose quill into a dog's vein.||United Kingdom|
|1665||Field development||The first injection of opium is performed into a dog.|
|1754||Scientific development||Joseph Black discovers carbon dioxide.|
|1771||Scientific development||English chemist and natural philosopher Joseph Priestley discovers "airs" of oxygen. Priestley becomes the first to isolate oxygen.||United Kingdom|
|1772||Scientific development||Joseph Priestley discovers nitrous oxide.||United Kingdom|
|1779||Field development||German doctor Franz Mesmer describes using magnets and hypnosis to cure many ailments.|
|1796||Field development||James Moore compresses nerves to produce local anesthesia.|
|1796||German pharmacist Wilhelm August Lampadius discovers carbon disulfide, which is later used as treatment for a variety of diseases and is tried as an anesthetic agent before the advent of chloroform.||Germany|
|1799||Field development||British chemist Humphry Davy introduces nitrous oxide into medical practice.||United Kingdom|
|1800||Field development||Humphry Davy observes "As nitrous oxide in its extensive operation appears capable of destroying physical pain, it may probably be used with advantage during surgical operations in which no great effusion of blood takes place."||United Kingdom|
|1804||Drug||Japanese surgeon Hanaoka Seishū formulates his general anesthetic tsusensan.||Japan|
|1805||Drug||German pharmacist Friedrich Sertürner isolates a new substance from opium, which he later names "morphium" after Morpheus, the god of dreams.||Germany|
|1818||Field development||British scientist Michael Faraday, after studying the inhalation of ether, publishes his findings, including soporific and analgesic effects.||United Kingdom|
|1824||Field development||English physician Henry Hill Hickman describes carbon dioxide anesthesia for animals.||United Kingdom|
|1829||Field development||French physician Jules Germain Cloquet in Paris uses hypnosis for mastectomy.||France|
|1831||Drug||Chloroform is discovered independently by American physician Samuel Guthrie, French scientist Eugène Soubeiran, and German chemist Justus von Liebig.||United States, France, Germany|
|1845||Field development||American dentist Horace Wells demonstrates nitrous oxide anesthesia for a tooth extraction near Massachusetts General Hospital.||United States|
|1846||Field development||American dentist William T. G. Morton becomes the first in the world to publicly and successfully demonstrate the use of ether anesthesia for surgery.||United States|
|1847||Scottish obstetrician James Young Simpson begins administering chloroform to women for pain during childbirth. Chloroform quickly becomes a popular anesthetic for surgery and dental procedures as well. ||United Kingdom|
|1847||Field development||The first veterinary treatment using anaesthesia begins at Veterinary College London.||United Kingdom|
|1848||Fifteen-year-old Hannah Greener dies after chloroform administration (for toenail removal), in the first anesthetic death.|
|1853||Field development||Charles Pravaz and Alexander Wood independently invent the hollow hypodermic needle, which is attached to an earlier invention, the syringe, popularized in 1845 by Francis Rynd from Ireland|
|1853 – 1857||Field development||English physician John Snow popularizes obstetric anesthesia by chloroforming Queen Victoria for the birth of Prince Leopold (1853) and Princess Beatrice (1857). Snow books On the Inhalation of the Vapour of Ether and On Chloroform and Other Anaesthetics enlighten physician-anesthetists.||United Kingdom|
|1857||Field development||French physiologist Claude Bernard shows that a strongly paralysing poison such as curare (the first isolated neuromuscular blocking agent) blocks the passage of nerve impulses through the junction of a nerve and muscle.|
|1860||Drug||Cocaine is isolated.|
|1863||Field development||American medicine man Gardner Quincy Colton of the Cooper Institute in New York reintroduces nitrous oxide.||United States|
|1867||Literature||British surgeon Joseph Lister publishes paper On the Antiseptic Principle in the Practice of Surgery, thus introducing antiseptic surgery.||United Kingdom|
|1868||Field development||Edmund Andrews (1824-1904) of Chicago introduces use of a nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen as an anesthetic.||United States|
|1884||Drug||Viennese ophthalmologist Karl Koller introduces cocaine as an anesthetic for eye surgery.||Austria|
|1889||Field development||Henry I. Dorr is appointed as the world's 1st Professor of the Practice of Dentistry, Anaesthetics and Anaesthesia at the Philadelphia College of Dentistry.||United States|
|1891||Literature||The Dental and Surgical Microcosm is published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the world's first journal "devoted chiefly to the science of Anaesthesia and Anaesthetics."||United States|
|1893||Organization||The London Society of Anaesthetists, the world's first anesthesia society, is formed in London.||United Kingdom|
|1894||Field development||Medical students Ernest Amory Codman and Harvey Cushing develop the first anesthesia record using observed respiratory rate and palpated pulse rate. By 1901, Cushing would add blood pressure measurement by Riva Rocci sphygmomanometry; by 1903, respiratory rate and heart rate as auscultated by precordial stethoscope.||United States|
|1894||Field development||Harvey Cushing advocates the use of anaesthetic record charts.||United States|
|1898||Field development||German surgeon August Bier performs the first operation under spinal anaesthesia.|
|1901||Field development||Jean-Anthanase Sicard and Fernand Cathelin from France describe independently caudal epidural analgesia.||France|
|1902||Field development||Mathias J. Seifert in Chicago coins the words "anesthesiology" and "anesthesiologist." Seifert asserts that an "anesthetist" is a technician and an "anesthesiologist" is the scientific authority on anesthesia and anesthetics."||United States|
|1905||Organization||The Long Island Society of Anesthetists (LISA) is founded as the first professional anesthesia society in the United States.||United States|
|1905||Drug||German chemist Alfred Einhorn first synthesizes procaine and names the substance "novocain".||Germany|
|1909||Field development||Endotracheal anesthesia is introduced by Samuel James Meltzer and John Auer.|
|1914||Literature||The American Journal of Surgery begins publication of the Quarterly Supplement of Anesthesia and Analgesia, which would endure until 1926.||United States|
|1914||Field development||Dr. Dennis E. Jackson develops a carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbing anesthesia system, allowing for a patient to re-breathe their exhaled air containing the anesthetic, cleansed of the carbon dioxide, resulting in the use of less anesthetic and the avoidance of waste. |
|1916||Literature||Paluel J. Flagg publishes The Art of Anaesthesia.|
|1917||Instrumental||British anesthetist Henry Edmund Gaskin Boyle first describes the anaesthetic machine (also known as Boyle's machine).||United Kingdom|
|1920||Field development||Arthur Guedel first describes four stages of general anesthesia as induced by ether in humans. His stages can be loosely applied to anesthesia produced by inhalants other than ether and injectables.|
|1920||Field development||British anesthetist Ivan Magill and Stanley Rowbotham develop endotracheal anesthesia, a technic in which the administration of an anesthetic may be facilitated and the patient benefited by an artificial extension of the tracheobronchial tree by means of a tube through which the patient's respiratory exchange takes place.||United Kingdom|
|1920||Instrumental||The ether bottle is added to the anaesthetic machine.|
|1922||Literature||Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia is launched in Cleveland by Francis H. McMechan as the world's first journal published by an anesthesia society, the International Anesthesia Research Society.||United States|
|1923||Field development||The first ethylene-oxygen surgical anesthetic is administered by Dr. Isabella Herb, who demonstrates the remarkable trance-like state that low-dose ethylene can induce in human subjects.|
|1924||Instrumental||Dr. Ralph Waters develops the first simple and easily transportable absorber, known as the "Waters Canister" and the "Waters To-and-Fro."|
|1926||Instrumental||The chloroform bottle is added to the anaesthetic machine.|
|1927||Instrumental||The back bar is added to the anaesthetic machine.|
|1930||Instrumental||Brian Sword introduces the circle absorption system.|
|1930||Instrumental||Plungers and cowls in ether and chloroform bottles are added to the anaesthetic machine.|
|1931||Organization||The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists is founded.||United States|
|1932||Organization||The Association of anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland is formed.||United Kingdom, Ireland|
|1933||Instrumental||Dry bobbin flow meters replace water sight feed bottles in the anaesthetic machine.|
|1934||Drug||Thiopentone is introduced into clinical use.||United States|
|1935||Field development||The first diploma in anesthesia in England is awarded.||United Kingdom|
|1937||Instrumental||The rotameter displaces dry bobbin flowmeters in the anaesthetic machine.|
|1942||Drug||Muscle relaxants are introduced.|
|1945||Organization||The American Society of Anesthesiologists is established.||United States|
|1951||Drug||Charles Suckling in Manchester first synthesizes Halothane, a general inhalation anesthetic used for induction and maintenance of general anesthesia.||United Kingdom|
|1952||Instrumental||Woodbridge introduces the pin index safety system (PISS) into the anaesthetic machine.|
|1955||Organization||The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) is established in Scheveningen, Netherlands, at the first World Congress of Anaesthesiologists (WCA).||Netherlands|
|1958||Instrumental||The Bodok seal is introduced into the anaesthetic machine.|
|1960||Drug||Methoxyflurane is introduced into clinical practice.|
|1963||Field development||American physician Edmond I. Eger, II describes minimum alveolar concentration (MAC), later characterized as "the concentration of inhaled anesthetic producing immobility in 50% of patients subjected to a noxious stimulus."||United States|
|1964||Drug||Team led by Günter Corssen begins human trials of the dissociative intravenous anesthetic ketamine.||United States|
|1964||Drug||Janssen in Belgium synthesizes etomidate, a carboxylated imidazole derivative.||Belgium|
|1966||Drug||Robert Virtue begins human trials of the inhalational anesthetic enflurane.|
|1970||Field development||Mexican anesthesiologist J. Antonio Aldrete publishes his "Postanesthetic Recovery Score."|
|1972||Drug||Isoflurane is introduced as an inhalational anesthetic.|
|1973||Instrumental||Japanese physiologist and bioengineer Takuo Aoyagi introduces the pulse oximeter.|
|1974||Organization||The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) is established.|
|1979||Instrumental||Standards for anaesthetic machine are introduced.|
|1983||Field development||The laryngeal mask airway is introduced.|
|1985||Organization||The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) is established by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.||United States|
|1987||Drug||Desflurane is introduced for clinical use.|
|1994||Drug||Abbot introduces sevoflurane as an inhalational anesthetic. |
Meta information on the timeline
How the timeline was built
The initial version of the timeline was written by User:Sebastian.
Funding information for this timeline is available.
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What the timeline is still missing
- Total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA)
- Nurse anesthetist
- Helsinki Declaration for Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology
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