Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
A gas that can cause general anesthesia. Nitrous oxide is sometimes given in the company of other anesthetic agents but it is not used today as the only anesthetic agent because the concentration of nitrous oxide needed to produce anesthesia is close to the concentration that seriously lowers the blood oxygen level and creates a hazardous hypoxic state. Nitrous oxide figured in the history of anesthesiology. In 1840 a dentist named Horace Wells had the idea that, with the recently discovered "exhilarating or laughing gas", teeth might be extracted without pain. Under its influence he had one of his own teeth pulled in 1844 and afterwards frequently used it in his practice. Before a class at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Wells gave a demonstration with a patient. Things did not go too well. The patient suffered great pain. Wells became depressed, addicted (to chloroform, another anesthetic agent) and in 1848 committed suicide.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • Laughing gas — Nitrous oxide, a gas that can cause general anesthesia. Nitrous oxide is sometimes given in the company of other anesthetic agents but it is never used today as the only anesthetic agent because the concentration of nitrous oxide needed to… …   Medical dictionary

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  • Laughing gas — may refer to:* Nitrous oxide, when used as an anaesthetic * Laughing Gas (novel), a comic novel by P.G. Wodehouse * Laughing Gas (film), the title of several movie shorts * Laughing Gas (1914 film), a film staring Charlie Chaplin * Laughing Gas… …   Wikipedia

  • Nitrous oxide — Nitrous Ni trous, a. [L. nitrosus full of natron: cf. F. nitreux. See {Niter}.] 1. Of, pertaining to, or containing, niter; of the quality of niter, or resembling it. [1913 Webster] 2. (Chem.) Of, pertaining to, or designating, any one of those… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • laughing gas — n. nitrous oxide used as an anesthetic: so called from the laughter and exhilaration that inhaling it may produce * * * …   Universalium

  • laughing gas — n. nitrous oxide used as an anesthetic: so called from the laughter and exhilaration that inhaling it may produce …   English World dictionary

  • nitrous oxide — Laughing gas, protoxide of nitrogen, exhilarating gas, nitrogen monoxide …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • Nitrous oxide — N2O redirects here. For other uses, see N2O (disambiguation). Laughing gas redirects here. For other uses, see Laughing gas (disambiguation). Not to be confused with nitric oxide (formula NO) or nitrogen dioxide (formula NO2). For other uses, see …   Wikipedia

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  • nitrous oxide — Chem., Pharm. a colorless, sweet smelling, sweet tasting, nonflammable, slightly water soluble gas, N2O, that sometimes produces a feeling of exhilaration when inhaled: used chiefly as an anesthetic in dentistry and surgery, in the manufacture of …   Universalium

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