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Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 2004 Apr;29(2):157-60.

What effect does isoflurane have upon ciliary beat pattern: an in vivo study.

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  • 1ENT Department, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK.


The effect of anaesthetic gases given via laryngeal mask on nasal ciliary beat pattern and frequency has not been studied. Anaesthetic gases such as isoflurane, halothane and enflurane are known to reduce ciliary beat frequency, but it is unknown whether they also cause cilia to beat in a dyskinetic fashion. Brush biopsies of nasal mucosa were taken pre- and post-anaesthesia with isoflurane, given via a laryngeal mask, from patients undergoing nasal surgery. The samples were observed by light microscopy, and high-speed digital video recordings were made to determine ciliary beat frequency. Using slow-motion playback, the ciliary beat pattern was scored for dysmotility, and the proportion of immotile cilia in the sample was determined. We found that ciliary beat frequency decreased significantly (P < 0.01) after exposure to isoflurane (10.24 Hz compared to 9.20 Hz). However, isoflurane did not alter the ciliary beat pattern or the proportion of immotile cilia.

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