Intravenous anesthetics are generally employed to induce anesthesia, to provide supplemental anesthesia, or to permit anesthesia for short operative procedures. The inhalational anesthetics are most often used for longer-term maintenance of the anesthetic state. Although intravenous (IV) agents produce anesthesia rapidly, most are metabolized slowly, so recovery may be prolonged when an IV anesthetic is used as the primary drug during a long surgical procedure. In contrast, while the anesthetic partial pressure of an inhalational agent is
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