The Anesthesia Consultant, written by Richard Novak MD, an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University, is an anesthesia educational website for both laypeople and medical specialists.

A note from Dr. Novak:

The Anesthesia Consultant was named the world’s 2nd best anesthesiology blog/website in 2023 by Feedspot.

I want to thank my readers, as reached the landmark of  2.8 million all-time views as of September 2023. The Anesthesia Consultant reaches readers in over 100 countries around the world.

The Anesthesia Consultant is a unique source of information. I’m a private practice anesthesiologist who has worked at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, California during five decades: the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010, and 2020s. I’m a hybrid who is both a community and an academic physician. There are over 300 columns and opinion-editorials on The Anesthesia Consultant, written from the viewpoint of a physician anesthesiologist who practices the specialty daily.

The success of would not be possible without my readers, and I thank you all. I’ll keep writing, and I invite you to keep reading.


This painting depicts the first public demonstration of inhaled ether as a surgical anesthetic, on October 16th, 1846 at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston

The Top Posts and the titles of more than 300 Active Posts are each listed in sidebar on this home page. Type your keyword into the SEARCH box to research a specific topic.

The most popular posts for laypeople include:

How Long Will It Take To Wake Up From General Anesthesia?

Why Did Take Me So Long To Wake From General Anesthesia?

Will I Have a Breathing Tube During Anesthesia?

What Are the Common Anesthesia Medications?

How Safe is Anesthesia in the 21st Century?

Will I Be Nauseated After General Anesthesia?

What Are the Anesthesia Risks For Children?

The most popular posts for anesthesia professionals include:

10 Trends for the Future of Anesthesia

Should You Cancel Anesthesia for a Potassium Level of 3.6?

12 Important Things to Know as You Near the End of Your Anesthesia Training

Should You Cancel Surgery For a Blood Pressure = 170/99?

Advice For Passing the Anesthesia Oral Board Exams

What Personal Characteristics are Necessary to Become a Successful Anesthesiologist?



The, copyright 2010, Palo Alto, California

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  1. Fascinating information on this site as to what an Anesthesiologist actually does. I’d always assumed they just tended to the anesthesia machine, whatever that was. But from what you’re saying, the anesthesiologist’s role is to keep the patient alive, while the surgeon’s role is to perform the procedure.

    1. Correct! We take care of the heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys while the surgeon fixes whatever needed fixing. The patient might be 100 years old or 100 days old, we’re there and we love it.

  2. I was put under general anesthesia on December 10th and everything was going great until my gynecologist made the incision in my belly button not even through the wall and my blood pressure dropped to 70/100 and oxygen dropped almost in half but my heart rate stayed the same the entire time. The anesthesiologist tried several things and finally gave me epinephrine and my top number only went up to about 90, heart rate stayed good and steady the whole time. They stopped the surgery and once the breathing tube was removed everything was perfectly normal again. I was brought to ICU and had tons of tests, and blood tests and nothing was wrong, CT of the chest and it was completely normal, no blood clots anywhere. Have you any idea of why this could have happened?

    1. Melissa,
      All this sounds very serious. I’m glad the outcome was without complication, and it sounds like the anesthesiologist made the right decisions. Without reading through the whole medical record in detail, it would be impossible to make the correct diagnosis. But if the anesthesiologist believed epinephrine was indicated, and the epinephrine did indeed seem to help, that makes anaphylaxis the most likely diagnosis. Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction either to one of the medications given, or the latex in surgical gloves. If anaphylaxis was the correct diagnosis, then a blood test called a tryptase level would be elevated on the day following surgery. I’m sure the biggest issue in your mind is what will happen the next time you have an anesthetic. It’s best you obtain the medical records of what happened, and show them to any anesthesiologist in the future.

      1. Weird thing is I’ve had 4 surgery’s in the last 2 years and no reactions to anything, I’ve always done really good with the whole process each time. They did do that test tryptase and are waiting for the results, but the entire team of doctors working on this said an allergic reaction doesn’t really fit considering the way every thing happened. I know you don’t have the report so it’s hard to say but just wondering what your thought was from just what I could tell you. Thank you.

  3. It’s good to see your friendly face, Dr. Rick! ❤️

    1. Miss your musical prowess and smiling visage here in Menlo Park!

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