Visceral Losses of Desflurane, Isoflurane, and Halothane in Swine

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Percutaneous loss of inhaled anesthetics is small relative to their uptake. The minor nature of this loss results in part from the substantial barrier to diffusion posed by the skin. Pleural and peritoneal surfaces pose less effective barriers because diffusion distances are smaller than in the skin. Accordingly, we measured visceral loss to air of desflurane, isoflurane, and halothane from pleural and peritoneal surfaces in five juvenile swine. Pleural and peritoneal losses per percent end-tidal anesthetic correlated directly with the solubility of the anesthetic in blood or tissues. The total pleural losses for the first 30 min of anesthetic administration were desflurane, 1.22 ± 0.22 mL (mean ± standard deviation for the 30-min period); isoflurane, 2.34 ± 0.52 mL; and halothane, 4.69 ± 0.98 mL; respective peritoneal losses were 0.64 ± 0.12 mL, 1.23 ± 0.25 mL, and 2.69 ± 0.57 mL. Pleural loss per unit time did not change with increasing duration of anesthesia, whereas peritoneal loss increased for all anesthetics. These visceral losses are greater than total percutaneous losses in humans given these anesthetics for the same period of time, but the loss of anesthetic by either route is too small to affect measurements of anesthetic kinetics or recovery.

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