Standard Article

The History of Anaesthesia

  1. Donald Caton

Published Online: 23 SEP 2005

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0003621



How to Cite

Caton, D. 2005. The History of Anaesthesia. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 SEP 2005

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (16 FEB 2015)


Modern surgical anaesthesia began in 1846 with the first successful public administration of ether. The maturation of this branch of medicine developed during the next century and a half as principles of physiology and pharmacology increasingly became part of clinical practice and as practitioners formed societies to promote research and develop standards for education and practice.


  • anaesthesia;
  • history;
  • chloroform;
  • ether;
  • nitrous oxide