Postanesthetic respiratory depression in humans: a comparison of sevoflurane, isoflurane and halothane.

Research paper by M M Doi, K K Ikeda

Indexed on: 01 Sep '87Published on: 01 Sep '87Published in: Journal of Anesthesia


The postanesthetic respiratory depression with sevoflurane, isoflurane and halothane was studied in twenty-one patients. They were divided into three groups of seven patients each. One group underwent sevoflurane anesthesia, another group isoflurane and the third group halothane. Following extubation, the decrease in blood concentration of the anesthetic agent was most rapid with sevoflurane and slowest with halothane. Twenty minutes following extubation, resting ventilation and ventilatory response to carbon dioxide returned to the preanesthetic state with sevoflurane and isoflurane anesthesia. With halothane anesthesia, however, the depressive respiratory effects of halothane remained; depressed ventilatory response to carbon dioxide, decreased tidal volume and increased respiratory frequency. Although halothane has been reported to have the least depressive respiratory effect of the three, its elimination was slowest. Thus the respiratory effects of halothane persisted up to and past the twenty minute mark, far longer than with sevoflurane or isoflurane.