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Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim. 2018 Sep;46(5):362-366. doi: 10.5152/TJAR.2018.35683. Epub 2018 Sep 4.

Elevated Waste Anaesthetic Gas Concentration in the Paediatric Post-Anaesthesia Care Unit.

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Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Macewan University, Edmonton, Canada.
Department of Anaesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, USA.



Exposure to waste anaesthetic gas (WAG) is a recognised occupational hazard for health care professionals (HCP). In recovery rooms, scavenging and ventilation systems differ from those in the operating room, raising the question as to how efficient they are. This study aims to measure the levels of ambient sevoflurane over the course of consecutive workdays in the paediatric recovery room of a tertiary academic centre.


The following is a descriptive-analytic study of ambient air sevoflurane levels measured using a MIRAN® 205B Series SapphIRe portable ambient air analyser. Samples were obtained between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm for two non-consecutive weeks on consecutive weekdays in our paediatric recovery room area.


The ambient air levels of sevoflurane exceeded the ceiling concentration of 0.5 ppm recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health on all days of measurement. The concentration of sevoflurane in ambient air correlates directly with the number of patients present.


Even in a modern recovery room constructed according to current building standard and code, ambient air levels of WAG exceed the recommendations. Future research and practice standards are needed to reduce this occupational exposure. Disregarding whether chronic exposure to WAG is harmful, we have shown that HCP working in recovery rooms are chronically exposed to concentrations which exceed recommended levels. Strategies are needed to reduce ambient levels of WAG in post-anaesthesia care units.


Inhalational anaesthesia; occupational exposure; paediatric anaesthesia; recovery room; sevoflurane; volatile anaesthetics

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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