How can anesthesia help?

Anesthesia induces a temporary partial or total loss of sensation. In the hands of qualified professionals like Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, it is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during a medical or surgical procedure. Millions of people in the United States safely undergo some form of medical or surgical treatment every year requiring anesthesia. Anesthesia care is not confined to surgery alone. The process also refers to activities that take place both before and after an anesthetic is given.

Who administers anesthesia?

Anesthesia can be administered by either a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)/Advanced Practice Nurse in Anesthesia (APN-A) or Anesthesiologist. CRNA/APN’s are advanced practice nurses with specialized graduate-level education in anesthesiology and are responsible for administering more than 49 million anesthetics to patients in the United States each year. For nearly 150 years, nurse anesthetists have been administering anesthesia in all types of surgical cases, using all anesthetic techniques, and practicing in every setting in which anesthesia is administered.  To learn more about CRNA’s check out this Fact Sheet.

Will my nurse anesthetist stay with me throughout the surgery?

Your nurse anesthetist stays with you for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important function of your body and individually modifying your anesthetic to ensure your maximum safety and comfort.

What kinds of anesthesia are there?

There are several kinds of anesthesia and the one chosen for you is based on factors such as your physical condition, the type of surgery you are having, and your reactions to medications.  Here are the three basic types of anesthesia:
• General Anesthesia: Produces a loss of sensation throughout the entire body.
• Regional Anesthesia: Produces a loss of sensation to a specific region of the body.
• Local Anesthesia: Produces a loss of sensation to a small specific area of the body.

Are there additional patient resources available?

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has a variety of information on the Patient Resource Center of their website to prepare for your anesthesia experience, learn about children and anesthesia, and provide tips for avoiding complications.

What is an APN-A? Click here for more information.

How much education and training does a person need to become an APN-A/CRNA? Click here for more information.