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New inhalational anaesthetics

New inhalational anaesthetics

Anaesthesist 45(8): 674-693

Recently, two new halogenated volatile anaesthetics, sevoflurane and desflurane, have been approved for clinical use in Germany. Their low solubility in blood is the most important common property, and this represents the most obvious difference from the inhalational anaesthetics currently used. Extensive clinical and experimental evaluations have confirmed the superior pharmacokinetic properties predicted. Both sevoflurane and desflurane provide more rapid emergence from anaesthesia, permit easier titration of the anaesthetic dose during maintenance and offer more rapid recovery from anaesthesia. For sevoflurane, there are additional advantages: a pleasant odor, negligible airway irritation, and excellent pharmacodynamic characteristics that even provide cardiovascular stability comparable to isoflurane. A certain disadvantage and source of potential nephrotoxicity result from the metabolism of sevoflurane (2-5%) to anorganic fluoride and degradation to compound A in carbon dioxide absorbents. The extensive clinical data reported to date have revealed no evidence that sevoflurane has adverse renal effects. New insight into the pathomechanism of nephrotoxicity associated with either production of fluoride or compound A may well support clinical experience. Desflurane strongly resists in vivo metabolism and because of this it appears to be devoid of toxicity. Nevertheless, potential side-effects may result from degradation in dry absorbents and subsequent release of CO, from its extreme pungency and irritating airway effects. Thus, desflurane is not recommended for induction of anaesthesia, especially in children. The tendency for desflurane transiently to stimulate sympathetic activity, especially at concentrations above 1.0 MAC, limits its application in patients with cardiac disease.

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