Balanced anesthesia allows us
to minimize patient risk and maximize patient comfort and safety. The objectives of balanced anesthesia are to calm the patient,
minimize pain, and reduce the potential for adverse effects associated
with analgesic and anesthetic agents.
Calming the patient is important to allow for ease in
handling and to decrease the amount of stress in the patient. As we know, stress can cause tachycardia, tachypnoea, hypertension,
and other consequences of catecholamine release. These can all be detrimental to the anesthetized patient. Stress and anxiety contribute to the nociceptive pain process. Some
examples of medications that calm the patient are acepromazine, diazepam
or midazolam, and medetomidine.
Pain is associated with both elective surgery
and trauma. In people,
especially pediatric patients, pain has been shown to delay healing,
decrease appetite, and contribute to mortality. The best way to control pain is to stop it before it starts. Proper analgesics can also aid in calming the patient, and in
decreasing the need for higher doses of inhalant anesthetics. Some examples of analgesics are opioids (such as morphine,
buprenorphine, butorphenol, and fentanyl); NSAIDS (such as carprofen,
meloxicam, and ketoprofen); local anesthetics (such as lidocaine, and
bupivacaine); and NDMA receptor antagonists (ketamine).
All drugs have the potential to adversely
affect the patient. Some of
the most profound negative effects of anesthesia are caused by inhalant
anesthetics. While these
drugs generally have a high margin of safety and are very useful, their
doses, and as such the tendency for adverse effects, can be drastically
reduced with the proper use of calming agents and analgesics.
The best approach to a balanced protocol involves individual assessment of the patient and the procedure in order to plan the anesthetic event. Almost all patients should be premedicated with an analgesic +/- a tranquilizer. An appropriate induction agent should be selected to rapidly induce anesthesia and allow rapid intubation. Then maintenance can be achieved with an inhalant. Maintenance can also be achieved with CRIs of some drugs (i.e. propofol), but that is usually reserved for special circumstances.
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Last modified: June 4, 2011 .