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Bottle of trichloroethylene, England, 1940-1960

Trichloroethylene is known as Trilene. It is a volatile liquid introduced as an anaesthetic agent in 1934. Trilene was used during labour. It was inhaled via a mouthpiece before each contraction. This provided pain relief rather than full anaesthesia. This bottle of trichloroethylene was made in England by Imperial Chemical Industries Limited. The use of Trilene in obstetrics has declined since the development of portable inhalers delivering nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen. Nitrous oxide is pleasanter to inhale and has fewer side effects.

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    Glossary: anaesthetic

    An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. Applied to either the whole body (general anaesthetic) or a particular area or region (local anaesthetic).

    Glossary: obstetrics

    A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.

    Glossary: anaesthetic bottle

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