Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2013 Oct;57(9):1131-7. doi: 10.1111/aas.12165. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Current use of nitrous oxide in public hospitals in Scandinavian countries.

Author information

  • 1Department of Anaesthesiology, Hillerød Hospital, Hillerød, Denmark.



The use of nitrous oxide in modern anaesthesia has been questioned. We surveyed changes in use of nitrous oxide in Scandinavia and its justifications during the last two decades.


All 191 departments of anaesthesia in the Scandinavian countries were requested by email to answer an electronic survey in SurveyMonkey.


One hundred and twenty-five (64%) of the departments responded; four were excluded. The 121 departments provided 807.520 general anaesthetics annually. The usage of nitrous oxide was reported in 11.9% of cases, ranging from 0.6% in Denmark to 38.6% in Iceland while volatile anaesthetics were employed in 48.9%, lowest in Denmark (22.6%) and highest in Iceland (91.9%). Nitrous oxide was co-administered with volatile anaesthetics in 21.5% of general anaesthetics [2.4% (Denmark) -34.5% (Iceland)]. Use of nitrous oxide was unchanged in five departments (4%), decreasing in 75 (62%) and stopped in 41 (34%). Reasons for decreasing or stopping use of nitrous oxide were fairly uniform in the five countries, the most important being that other agents were 'better', whereas few put weight on its potential risk for increasing morbidity. Decision to stop using nitrous oxide was made by the departments except in four cases. Of 87 maternity wards, nitrous oxide was used in 72, whereas this was the case in 42 of 111 day-surgery units.


The use of nitrous oxide has decreased in the Scandinavian countries, apparently because many now prefer other agents. Difference in practices between the five countries were unexpected and apparently not justified on anticipated evidence only.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center