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Anesthesiology. 1982 Sep;57(3):153-9.

Halothane depresses the response of carotid body chemoreceptors to hypoxia and hypercapnia in the cat.


Halothane is known to inhibit the ventilatory responses to hypoxia and hypercapnia. In order to determine whether this inhibition was mediated by peripheral chemoreceptors, the authors measured the effect of halothane on the response of carotid body chemoreceptors to these stimuli. Cats were decerebrated under brief halothane anesthesia, paralyzed, and ventilated. Chemoreceptor activity was recorded from single- or few-fiber preparations of carotid sinus nerve, and the inspiratory drive was recorded from the whole phrenic nerve. Steady-state responses were measured at three levels of CO2 tension (19-92 mmHg) during hyperoxia, and at four levels of O2 tension (35-450 mmHg) at a fixed PaCO2. Both responses were measured before, during, and after 0.5-1.0 per cent halothane was inspired. The halothane inhalation was maintained for at least 30 min before the responses were obtained. Halothane reduced the slope of chemoreceptor response to hypercapnia to about 48 per cent of the control slope. The response to hypoxia was reduced to about 58 pr cent of the control response. The increase in firing after intravenous nicotine (100 micrograms), summed for 20 s, was reduced to 25 per cent of the prehalothane control values; that after NaCN (25 micrograms) was reduced to 17 per cent of the control value. The effect of halothane was prompt (half complete in 1-2 min) and reversible. This finding explains some of the inhibition of the ventilatory responses to hypoxia and hypercapnia caused by halothane.

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