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Surgical muscle relaxation and neuromuscular blockade
  1. Eddie Clutton

    Eddie Clutton graduated from Liverpool in 1981 and spent three years in the department of anaesthesia at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. He subsequently worked in the USA for five years as assistant professor in veterinary anaesthesiology at the University of Virginia, Maryland. Since 1990, he has been the head of anaesthesia at Edinburgh. He holds the RCVS certificate and diploma in veterinary anaesthesia and is a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia.


NEUROMUSCULAR blocking agents or ‘muscle relaxants’ predictably provide profound relaxation during anaesthesia and are the most effective way of achieving surgical relaxation. Their use is complicated and currently they are not extensively employed in general veterinary practice. This article reviews the anatomy and physiology of neuromuscular transmission, which is a prerequisite to understanding the underlying action of neuromuscular blocking agents, and discusses how these drugs may be effectively employed to achieve adequate relaxation during surgery.

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