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Br J Anaesth. 2004 Feb;92(2):275-7.

Animal dependence of inhaled anaesthetic requirements in cats.

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  • 1Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, USA.



The minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) of an inhaled anaesthetic describes its potency as a general anaesthetic. Individuals vary in their sensitivity to anaesthetics and we sought to determine whether an individual animal's sensitivity to inhaled anaesthetics would be maintained across different agents.


Six female mongrel cats, age 2 yr (range 1.8-2.3) and mean weight 3.5 (SD 0.3) kg, were studied on three separate occasions over a 12-month period to determine the MAC of isoflurane, sevoflurane and desflurane. Induction of anaesthesia in a chamber was followed by orotracheal intubation and maintenance of anaesthesia with the inhaled agent in oxygen delivered via a non-rebreathing circuit. MAC was determined in triplicate using standard tail-clamp technique.


Mean MAC values for isoflurane, sevoflurane and desflurane were 1.90 (SD 0.18), 3.41 (0.65) and 10.27 (1.06)%, respectively. Body temperature, systolic pressure and Sp(O(2)) recorded at the time of MAC determinations for isoflurane, sevoflurane and desflurane were 38.3 (0.3), 38.6 (0.1) and 38.3 (0.3) degrees C; 71.2 (8.3), 74.6 (15.9) and 88.0 (12.0) mmHg; 99.2 (1.1), 99.1 (1.3) and 99.4 (0.8)%, respectively. Both the anaesthetic agent and the individual cat had significant effects on MAC. Correlation coefficients for comparisons between desflurane and isoflurane, desflurane and sevoflurane, and sevoflurane and isoflurane were 0.90, 0.89 and 0.97, respectively.


These findings show that an individual has a consistent degree of sensitivity to a variety of inhaled anaesthetics, suggesting a genetic basis for sensitivity to inhaled anaesthetic effects.

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