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Anesthesiology/Is GA closest to coma?


Hi I have a quick question about G.A I have read reports on Dr.Emery Brown comparing general anesthesia to coma and even states that the brain under G.A can be akin to brain stem death if this is so..Does it mean that under G.A our brains stop functioning are we technically dead?? Sorry I am confused hopefully you can shed some light! THANKS FOR YOUR TIME

Yes and no. While the brain ceases to function in both scenarios the cause of the change in brain function is very different for anesthetics compared to coma.  The important thing to know is the while the brain does cease to function under anesthesia, this is intentional, non pathological, and reversible with no residual effects.  Coma is usually the result of trauma, and may not be reversible in part or in whole.  

In other words, I would not let this analogy concern you in any way, as modern anesthesia is very safe for the brain with few exceptions.
Dr. Russell


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Rex Russell


Any question dealing with general anesthesia issues. With particular emphasis on regional anesthesia.


I am a board certified anesthesiologist, graduated from residency in 2004 from Johns Hopkins Hospital. I have since worked as an anesthesiologist first in the Air Force for three years and then most recently in Texas in Private Practice.

Texas Medical Association Texas society of Anesthesiologists American Society of Anesthesiologists

BS, BYU MD, U of Texas, Galveston Intern-St. Joe's Hospital, Phx, AZ Internal Medicine Residency-Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

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