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AANA J. 2010 Oct;78(5):387-92.

Xenon as an anesthetic agent.

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University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.


Discovered in 1898 by British chemists, xenon is a rare gas belonging to the noble gases of the periodic table. Xenon is used in many different ways, from high-intensity lamps to jet propellant, and in 1939, its anesthetic properties were discovered. Xenon exerts its anesthetic properties, in part, through the noncompetitive inhibition of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Currently, xenon is being used primarily throughout Europe; however, the high price of manufacturing and scavenging the noble gas has discouraged more widespread use. As technology in anesthetic delivery improves, xenon is being investigated further as a possible replacement for nitrous oxide as an inhalational agent. This article reviews the anesthetic properties of xenon and current and potential research about the gas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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