This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Materia Medica, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by George F. Butler. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of materia medica, pharmacology and therapeutics.
Ether. - Not in tropics because of low Chloroform. - Tropics.
boiling-point. Avoid flame.
Large bulk. Army work. Local anesthetic. Cooling. Irritant to glottis.
Longer time. More excitement.
Larger quantity. 6 per cent. vapor.
Somewhat safer. Irritant to kidneys.
Not readily ignited.
Small bulk. Army work.
Not adapted. Irritant.
Non-irritating. Children. Bronchitis.
Shorter time. Less excitement.
Small amounts. 1 per cent. vapor.
Accidents more liable.
Also irritant. Thought to be less.
The comparative value of ether and chloroform may be summarized as follows:
1. If an anesthetic be required, ether is preferable in the case of a patient suffering from a weak cardiac action or an organic disease of the heart.
2. For operations about the face or of the stomach, as there is less danger of reflex inhibition of the heart, ether is preferable to chloroform.
3. Ether is preferable as an anesthetic in the extraction of teeth, chloroform being more apt to cause cardiac paralysis, reflexly by way of the dental nerve to the root of the vagus, and through the vagus to the inhibitory ganglia of the heart-muscle.
4. Ordinarily, ether is superior to and safer than chloroform as an anesthetic for adults unless some special contraindication exists, there being less danger in ether of cardiac failure, to which adults are more liable.
The use of chloroform is more desirable under certain conditions, thus:
1. Obstetrics, since the use of it is attended with less depression and irritation of the respiration and respiratory tract. Moreover, chloroform produces less nausea and vomiting, and may be administered by the patient herself under proper directions.
2. It is preferable in anesthetizing children, being more rapid in its action and less potent as a respiratory depressant, the respiratory center of the child being more susceptible than that of the adult, and in children the danger of cardiac paralysis being slight.
3. Should the patient be suffering from nephritis, chloroform is preferable as an anesthetic, since it is less irritating to the kidneys.
4. Should an anesthetic be required for patients afflicted with pulmonary tuberculosis, empyema, or other disease of the lungs, chloroform should be used, since its effect upon the respiratory system is less depressing.
5. It is preferable in very hot climates, as ether boils at 370 C. (98.60 F.).