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Arthur Ernest Guedel

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Arthur Ernest Guedel
Born(1883-06-13)June 13, 1883
DiedJune 10, 1956(1956-06-10) (aged 72)
Scientific career

Arthur Ernest Guedel (June 13, 1883 – June 10, 1956) was an American anesthesiologist. He was known for his studies on the uptake and distribution of inhalational anesthetics, as well for defining the various stages of general anesthesia.

The guedel pattern airway is named after him.[citation needed]

Early life and education[edit]

Arthur Ernest Guedel was born on June 13, 1883, in Cambridge City, Indiana, to Jahn and Mary Guedel. During his teens, he had an accident at work that amputated three fingers from his right hand. His family was unable to afford high school, so he taught himself and was admitted to the Indiana Medical College of Purdue at Indianapolis, which would later become Indiana University School of Medicine, in 1903. He graduated in 1908 with first honors and began his internship at Indianapolis City Hospital.

World War I[edit]

Guedel served as First Lieutenant (and later Captain) in the U.S. Army from 1917-1919. During his time, he worked at the American Expeditionary Forces hospitals in Chaumont and Vittels, France. Guedel was responsible for overseeing up to six hospitals at one time. For this reason, he became known as the "motorcycle anesthetist" because he would travel to the various hospitals by motorcycle. Guedel taught various medical personnel, from nurses to orderlies, how to manage anesthesia. Because of this, he defined the stages of anesthesia, now known as Guedel's classification.

Dunked dog experiment[edit]

In the 1920s, Guedel began experimenting with how to make a cuffed endotracheal airway. He corresponded greatly with his colleague and friend, Dr Ralph M. Waters about inventing a cuffed endotracheal tube. In 1928, Guedel and Waters did the "dunked dog experiment" on Guedel's family dog. In the experiment, the dog was sedated and intubated using Guedel's cuffed airway. To show how well the cuffed airway worked, the dog was dunked underwater for one hour. Following this, the dog was taken out of the tank and took a nap on the floor. The dog later lived with Waters and his family in Wisconsin.

Personal life[edit]

Guedel married Florence Fulton in 1909. They had two children: Marian (b. 1912) and Gretchen (1915-1940). Guedel died in California in 1956 at the age of 72.

See also[edit]


  • Podwińska, Ewa; Jośko Jadwiga; Kucewicz-Czech Ewa; Misiołek Hanna; Klimasara Jan; Szozda Marcin (2008). "[Pioneers of anaesthesiology--Arthur Ernest Guedel (1883-1956)]". Anestezjol Intens Ter. 40 (3). Poland: 192–4. ISSN 0209-1712. PMID 19469123.
  • Baskett, Thomas F (Oct 2004). "Arthur Guedel and the oropharyngeal airway". Resuscitation. 63 (1). Ireland: 3–5. doi:10.1016/j.resuscitation.2004.07.004. ISSN 0300-9572. PMID 15451579.
  • Keys, T E (1975). "Historical vignettes: Dr. Arthur Ernest Guedel 1883-1956". Anesth. Analg. 54 (4). UNITED STATES: 442–3. doi:10.1213/00000539-197507000-00008. ISSN 0003-2999. PMID 1096680.
  • Calverley, R.K. (1985). Anesthesia: Essays on its History. Germany: Springer.
  • Calmes, S.H. (2004). Two Men and their dog: Ralph Waters, Arthur Guedel, and the dunked dog "Airway". Park Ridge, IL: Wood Library.
  • Guedel, A; Waters, R (1928). "A new intratracheal catheter". Anesthesia and Analgesia. 7 (4): 238–239.