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Centennial of Intravenous Regional Anesthesia. Bier's Block (1908-2008)
  1. André van Zundert, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.A.a,b,
  2. Axel Helmstädter, Ph.D., Priv.Doz.c,
  3. Michael Goerig, M.D., Priv.Doz.d and
  4. Eric Mortier, M.D., Ph.D.b
  1. aDepartment of Anesthesiology, ICU & Pain Therapy, Catharina Hospital – Brabant Medical School, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  2. bDepartment of Anesthesiology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
  3. cDepartment of Anesthesiology, Institute for the History of Pharmacy, Marburg, Germany
  4. dDepartment of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany


The surgeon August Gustav Bier significantly influenced surgery, general medicine, and especially anesthesia. He was the father of spinal anesthesia (1898) and intravenous regional anesthesia (1908). Both anesthetic techniques are still valuable and widely applied in everyday anesthesia practices throughout the world, with a high degree of safety, efficacy, efficiency, and satisfaction. On the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the first use of intravenous regional anesthesia it is appropriate to recall Bier's contribution to the repertoire of anesthesiologists. The evolutionary history of both the injected drugs and the refinements of the technique are elaborated upon.

  • History
  • Regional Anesthesia
  • August Bier
  • Intravenous Regional Anesthesia

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  • Reprint requests: André van Zundert, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.A., Catharina Hospital-Brabant Medical School, Michelangelolaan 2, NL-5623 EJ Eindhoven, The Netherlands. E-mail: zundert{at}