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Br J Anaesth. 2003 Feb;90(2):233-5.

Sevoflurane anaesthesia does not induce the formation of sister chromatid exchanges in peripheral blood lymphocytes of children.

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  • 1Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Brunswiker Strasse 10, D-24105 Kiel, Germany. tkrause@uke.uni-hamburg.de



Compound A, a degradation product of sevoflurane, has been demonstrated to induce sister chromatid exchanges (SCE) in Chinese hamster ovary cells in vitro as a marker for possible genotoxicity. We investigated the formation of SCE in mitogen-stimulated T-lymphocytes of 40 children undergoing sevoflurane anaesthesia for minor surgical procedures.


Anaesthesia was induced by inhalation of up to 8% sevoflurane and maintained at 2.5-3% in oxygen/nitrous oxide (65/35%) at a fresh gas flow of 3 litre min(-1). Soda lime (humidity 12-15%) was used as a carbon dioxide absorbent. Blood was drawn directly before induction and after termination of anaesthesia. Twenty-five second division metaphases of mitogen-stimulated T-lymphocytes per blood sample were screened for SCE rates using standard techniques.


Average duration of anaesthesia was 49.6 (SD 24.0) min. Before anaesthesia induction, 7.93 (1.23) SCE per metaphase were determined. After sevoflurane anaesthesia [1.40 (0.77) MAC h] 7.92 (1.19) SCE per metaphase were observed. Additionally, no differences were evident between male or female children.


Short-term administration of sevoflurane anaesthesia did not induce SCE in T-lymphocytes of children. No indication for a possible genotoxic effect has been observed.

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