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Anesthesiology. 2002 Aug;97(2):400-4.

Effect of N2O on sevoflurane vaporizer settings during minimal- and low-flow anesthesia.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Therapy, Onze Lieve Vrouw Hospital, Aalst, Belgium.



Uptake of a second gas of a delivered gas mixture decreases the amount of carrier gas and potent inhaled anesthetic leaving the circle system through the pop-off valve. The authors hypothesized that the vaporizer settings required to maintain constant end-expired sevoflurane concentration (Etsevo) during minimal-flow anesthesia (MFA, fresh gas flow of 0.5 l/min) or low-flow anesthesia (LFA, fresh gas flow of 1 l/min) would be lower when sevoflurane is used in oxygen-nitrous oxide than in oxygen.


Fifty-six patients receiving general anesthesia were randomly assigned to one of four groups (n = 14 each), depending on the carrier gas and fresh gas flow used: group Ox.5 l (oxygen, MFA), group NOx.5 l (oxygen-nitrous oxide, MFA after 10 min high fresh gas flow), group Ox1 l (oxygen, LFA), and group NOx1 l (oxygen-nitrous oxide, LFA after 10 min high fresh gas flow). The vaporizer dial settings required to maintain Etsevo at 1.3% were compared between groups.


Vaporizer settings were higher in group Ox.5 l than in groups NOx.5 l, Ox1 l, and NOx1 l; vaporizer settings were higher in group NOx.5 l than in group NOx1 l between 23 and 47 min, and vaporizer settings did not differ between groups Ox1 l and NOx1 l.


When using oxygen-nitrous oxide as the carrier gas, less gas and vapor are wasted through the pop-off valve than when 100% oxygen is used. During MFA with an oxygen-nitrous oxide mixture, when almost all of the delivered oxygen and nitrous oxide is taken up by the patient, the vaporizer dial setting required to maintain a constant Etsevo is lower than when 100% oxygen is used. With higher fresh gas flows (LFA), this effect of nitrous oxide becomes insignificant, presumably because the proportion of excess gas leaving the pop-off valve relative to the amount taken up by the patient increases. However, other unexplored factors affecting gas kinetics in a circle system may contribute to our observations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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