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We compared blood pressure and heart rate changes in healthy patients during anesthesia with sevoflurane (n = 50) versus isoflurane (n = 25) and the rate of recovery after such anesthesia. After premedication with intravenous administration of midazolam, induction of anesthesia with thiopental, and intubation of the trachea facilitated with succinylcholine or vecuronium, anesthesia was maintained with approximately 1 MAC (sevoflurane, 2.05%; isoflurane, 1.15%) of the volatile anesthetic in oxygen for the duration of the operation. Anesthetic concentration was varied as indicated to maintain arterial blood pressure at ±20% of baseline values. Sevoflurane and isoflurane produced similar systolic and diastolic arterial blood pressures, but heart rate after incision was faster in patients given isoflurane. Recovery of response to command was shorter in patients given sevoflurane than that in patients given isoflurane (7.5 ± 0.5 min versus 18.6 ± 2.0 min). Consistent with this finding, venous blood drawn after anesthesia showed a more rapid initial decay with sevoflurane. Nausea and vomiting were comparable in both groups. We conclude that sevoflurane anesthesia, as compared with isoflurane, is associated with possible advantageous effects on heart rate and recovery.