Prior to the use of muscle-relaxant drugs, the only method available to the anesthesiologist to assure the patient would not move during surgery was by the administration of very deep levels of ether anesthesia. As anesthesia was deepened with ether, the patient's muscles would relax, but this relaxation came at a heavy price to the patient: Deep ether anesthesia would produce dangerous levels of cardiac and respiratory depression. Cardiovascular collapse and respiratory arrest with ether anesthesia were not uncommon before the introduction of curare. With the availability of muscle-relaxant drugs today, the anesthesiologist does not have to subject you to dangerously deep levels of general anesthesia to achieve akinesia and adequate muscle relaxation for surgery.
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