Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Ind Med. 2011 Feb;54(2):118-27. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20875.

Exposure to anesthetic gases and congenital anomalies in offspring of female registered nurses.

Author information

  • 1University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.



Studies of offspring of mothers exposed to anesthetic gases have shown associations with congenital anomalies reported by the mothers, but rarely in studies with objectively ascertained outcomes. We conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine associations between registry-ascertained congenital anomalies in offspring and anesthetic gas exposure of mothers employed as nurses.


A cohort of registered nurses in British Columbia, Canada, was linked to records of births and congenital anomalies from 1990 to 2000. Exposures were assessed via a survey of anesthetic gas use in all hospitals in the province and records of nurses' jobs, departments, and hospitals.


Departments most frequently reporting anesthetic gas use were operating rooms, post-anesthetic recovery rooms, and maternity units. In the cohort of 15,317 live-borne children of 9,433 mothers, 1,079 had congenital anomalies. Anomalies were associated with ever and probable maternal exposure to halogenated gases (ORs: 1.49, 95% CI: 1.04-2.13; and 2.61, 95% CI: 1.31-5.18, respectively) and to nitrous oxide (ORs: 1.42, 95% CI: 1.05-1.94; and 1.82, 95% CI: 1.11-2.99). Anomalies most frequently associated with exposure were those of the heart (OR, halogenated gases: 2.31, 95% CI: 1.07-4.97) and integument (OR, halogenated gases: 3.56, 95% CI: 1.53-8.32; OR, nitrous oxide: 3.02, 95% CI: 1.37-6.64). Gases most frequently associated with anomalies were halothane (predominantly used early in the study period), isoflurane, and sevoflurane (predominantly used later in the period).


In this study, where both exposures and outcomes were assessed objectively, certain congenital anomalies were associated with estimated anesthetic gas exposure.

Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk