Desflurane and sevoflurane have markedly different pungencies. The tested hypothesis was that patients breathing equivalent concentrations of desflurane or sevoflurane through a laryngeal mask airway (LMA) would have similar responses.Methods:
After institutional review board approval and informed consent were obtained, 60 patients were enrolled and given intravenous midazolam (14 μg/kg) and fentanyl (1 μg/kg) 5 min before induction of anesthesia. The LMA was inserted at loss of consciousness after 2 mg/kg propofol. When spontaneous breathing returned, a randomly assigned volatile anesthetic was started at an inspired concentration of either 1.8% sevoflurane or 6% desflurane at a fresh gas flow of 6 l/min in air:oxygen (50:50). After 5 min, a controlled movement of the LMA took place. Three minutes later, the inspiratory anesthetic concentration was changed to either 3.6% sevoflurane or 12% desflurane for 3 min. A blinded observer recorded movements and airway events during the start of anesthetic, LMA movement, deepening of the anesthetic, and emergence before LMA removal.Results:
There were no differences at anesthetic start and LMA movement. Desflurane titration to 12% increased heart rate, increased mean arterial blood pressure, and initiated frequent coughing (53% vs. 0% sevoflurane) and body movements (47% vs. 0% sevoflurane). During emergence, there was a twofold greater incidence of coughing and a fivefold increase in breath holding in the desflurane group.Conclusions:
When airway responses to sevoflurane and desflurane were compared in elective surgical patients breathing through an LMA, there were significantly more adverse responses with desflurane at 12% concentrations and during emergence.