Glossary of Terms

To help you understand some of the terms and processes used when anesthesia is administered, please consult the short list below. You can also call DPI with any questions that you may have and we’ll do our best to be of assistance.
  • Analgesia – A temporary condition causing the absence of pain without the loss of consciousness.
  • Analgesic – A medication that helps relieve pain without causing the loss of consciousness, such as the simple and widely used aspirin.
  • Anesthesia – This is the complete or partial loss of feeling or sensation (pain for example), with or without the loss of consciousness. It is used for surgery or other medical procedures. Anesthesia can be local, MAC, regional, or general.
  • Anesthesia Device – A machine or tool used by an anesthesia professional to provide the safest level of anesthetics during surgical procedures. The device features controls for the precise flow of oxygen, air, nitrous oxide and anesthetics.
  • Anesthetic – A powerful but safely administered drug that produces the condition of anesthesia. It is usually administered by inhalation (breathing), or intravenously through an IV or by Intramuscular injection.
  • Anesthesiologist – A physician who is a specialist in the administration of analgesia and anesthesia usually during surgical procedures. Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who provide patient care before, during and immediately following surgical or medical procedures. An anesthesiologist may be involved in pain management. In some countries, an Anesthesiologist is called an anesthetist which may be applied to nurses as well as physicians. Anesthesiologists are certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Anesthesiologists may work independently or in conjunction with a CRNA.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – CRNAs are licensed Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) who provide patient care before, during and immediately following surgical or medical procedures. CRNAs are all certified by the national board of Certification of Registered Nurse Anesthetist. CRNAs may be involved in pain management. CRNAs may work independently or in conjunction with an Anesthesiologist.
  • Endotracheal Tube – This is a breathing tube placed in a patient’s windpipe to help them breathe more easily and it protects the airway. It is in common use for surgeries where general anesthesia is in use.
  • Epidural Anesthesia – Produced by injection of a local anesthetic into the epidural space of the spinal cord, this form of anesthesia is most frequently used during labor and childbirth, for surgeries involving body areas below the waiste, and for post-operative pain management.
  • Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) – This is simply a device that provides an effective way of establishing an airway in the patient during anesthesia. More effective than a face mask, it is also less intrusive than an endotracheal tube.
  • Laryngoscope – A lighted tube inserted through the mouth into the upper airway and designed to view the area inside the larynx (voice box).
  • Sedation – The condition when an anesthesia drug is given to calm or relax a patient during excitable, anxious or uncomfortable times such as prior to a surgical procedure.
  • Sedative – This is a substance used to help calm, or tranquilize a nervous or excited patient.


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