Wiki article on this topic: Anesthesiology, anaesthesiology, anaesthesia or anaesthetics is the medical speciality concerned with the total perioperative care of patients before, during and after surgery. It encompasses anesthesia, intensive care medicine, critical emergency medicine, and pain medicine. A physician specialised in this field of medicine is called an anesthesiologist, anaesthesiologist or anaesthetist, depending on the country.
The core element of the specialty is the study and use of anesthesia and anesthetics to safely support a patient's vital functions through the perioperative period. Since the 19th century, anesthesiology has developed from an experimental area with non-specialist practitioners using novel, untested drugs and techniques into what is now a highly refined, safe and effective field of medicine. In some countries anesthesiologists comprise the largest single cohort of doctors in hospitals, and their role can extend far beyond the traditional role of anesthesia care in the operating room, including fields such as providing pre-hospital emergency medicine, running intensive care units, transporting critically ill patients between facilities, and prehabilitation programs to optimize patients for surgery.
Various names are used for the specialty, and those doctors who practise it, in different parts of the world:
The name derives from the Ancient Greek roots ἀν- an-, "not", αἴσθησις aísthēsis, “sensation”, and -λογία -logia, "study".
As a specialty, the core element of anesthesiology is the practice of anesthesia. This comprises the use of various injected and inhaled medications to produce a loss of sensation in patients, making it possible to carry out procedures that would otherwise cause intolerable pain or be technically unfeasible. Safe anesthesia requires in-depth knowledge of various invasive and non-invasive organ support techniques that are used to control patients' vital functions while under the effects of anaesthetic drugs; these include advanced airway management, invasive and non-invasive hemodynamic monitors, and diagnostic techniques like ultrasonography and echocardiography. Anesthesiologists are expected to have expert knowledge of human physiology, medical physics, and pharmacology, as well as a broad general knowledge of all areas of medicine and surgery in all ages of patients, with a particular focus on those aspects which may impact on a surgical procedure. In recent decades, the role of anesthesiologists has broadened to focus not just on administering anesthetics during the surgical procedure itself, but also beforehand in order to identify high-risk patients and optimize their fitness, during the procedure to maintain situational awareness of the surgery itself so as to improve safety, as well as afterwards in order to promote and enhance recovery. This has been termed "perioperative medicine".