What is Chloroform
Chloroform is a very toxic compound, which was used in the past as an anesthetic agent. Chloroform use in anesthesia is only of historical value, although it still has some applications outside the medical practice. It was available as a liquid in bottles that would be poured on to a cloth and then kept at the mouth. Open masks were also used so as to maintain anesthesia. The Chloroform effects were not predictable and maintenance of anesthesia was very difficult.
Chloroform effects :
Numbers of cardiac arrest and death have been reported due to ventricular fibrillation due to Chloroform use. The use of adrenaline is contraindicated, when chloroform anesthesia has been given.
• Prolonged Chloroform use of concentrations above 2% can also produce respiratory arrest.
• Chloroform is hepatotoxic which means that it caused damage to the liver.
• Chloroform causes profound hyperglycemia. Therefore, it should be avoided in diabetic patients.
• It is non irritant and induction is smooth.
• It produces good muscle relaxation among most inhalational agents.
• It is a non inflammable, non explosive anesthetic agent.
Hence Chloroform use has been stopped because of its deleterious effects on various systems of the body and the damage that it caused to so many organs in the body.
Miller’s anesthesia says the following about Chloroform history –
Within a year after the introduction of ether anesthesia, the search had already begun for other agents that could anesthetize without some of the problems associated with ether.
Although ether was a remarkably safe anesthetic, even when administered by untrained hands, there were disadvantages, including flammability, prolonged induction, an unpleasant odor that was persistent, and a high incidence of nausea and vomiting.
James Young Simpson (1811-1870), an obstetrician from Edinburgh, Scotland, used ether in 1846 but was determined to find a better anesthetic. As early as January 1847, he began experimenting with a variety of different solvents and volatile liquids.