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Inhalational Anesthetic Agents: Types use and Complications- Anesthesia

Jul 11, 2023

Inhalational Anesthetic Agents Types use and Complications- Anesthesia

Inhalational anesthetic agents are used to produce and maintain general anesthesia which is a state of reversible unconsciousness and loss of sensation. These drugs are frequently used to provide analgesia during surgical procedures. Immobility and amnesia (loss of memory).

Types of Inhalational Anesthetic Agents

inhalational anesthetics come in a variety of varieties. The following list of primary types includes some of them:

  •  Nitrous oxide- It is also known as laughing gas. It is a weak inhalation anesthetic. To give analgesia and mild drowsiness, it is frequently used in combination with other medications. It frequently serves as a supplement to general anesthesia and is utilized in dental treatments.
  • Desflurane- Desflurane's low blood gas solubility enables its quick induction and quick recovery from anesthesia. It is frequently used to maintain anesthesia during surgical procedures and is delivered using a specialized vaporizer. Due to its low boiling point, desflurane must be administered using a specific vaporizer.
  • Sevoflurane- Sevoflurane is a volatile substance with low blood gas solubility. It has a pleasant odor and offers a smooth induction and emergence from anesthesia. Both adults and children frequently utilize sevoflurane.
  • Isoflurane- Isoflurane is an inhalational agent with moderate blood gas solubility. It promotes good muscular relaxation and is well-known for maintaining cardiovascular stability when under anesthesia.
  • Halothane- One of the first volatile inhalational anesthetics to be used in clinical use, halothane has a high blood gas solubility and a higher risk of hepatotoxicity than other drugs. Halothane is rarely used today due to its probable side effects, which include liver damage.
  • Xenon- Xenon is a noble gas that has anesthetic properties when administered in high concentrations. It is not as widely used as other inhalational agents due to its high cost and limited availability.

Also Read: How to Perform Central Neuraxial Blockage and Its Types 

Uses Of Inhalational Anesthetic Agents

Inhalational anesthetic agents are used for:

  • General anesthesia- The main elements of general anesthesia are inhalational drugs. They are employed during surgical procedures to create and sustain analgesia, a condition of unconsciousness, and muscle relaxation.
  • Ambulatory surgery- Outpatient or mobile surgical settings frequently use inhalational anesthetics. For certain procedures where quick recovery is needed, these drugs are appropriate since they enable a seamless induction and emergence from anesthesia. After the surgery, patients may leave the hospital very soon.
  • Pediatric anesthesia- Pediatric anesthesia: Because of their high level of safety and simplicity of administration, inhalational anesthetics are frequently employed in pediatric anesthesia. The depth of anesthesia can be precisely controlled, and youngsters tolerate them well. Since they cause little irritation to the airways and have a pleasant smell, substances like sevoflurane are particularly popular in pediatric anesthesia.
  • Diagnostic procedures- Inhalational anesthetic agents can be used for certain diagnostic procedures that require sedation or anesthesia. 

Also Read: Regional Anesthesia: Types, Instruments used in giving Anesthesia, Side Effects 

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Complications of Inhalational Anesthetic Agents

While inhalational anesthetics are often used and generally regarded as safe, there are some problems that may arise.

 It is significant to highlight that the frequency and severity of complications might change based on a variety of elements, including the precise agent employed, the patient's features, and the knowledge and expertise of the anesthesia provider. As a result of using inhalational anesthetics, the following complications could arise:

  • Effects on the respiratory system: Inhaled substances may cause a decrease in the respiratory system's function, which in turn affects the depth and rate of breathing. In addition to other side effects like hypoxia and hypercapnia, this may lead to respiratory depression and hypoventilation.
  • Effects on the cardiovascular system: Inhaled anesthetics may have an impact on heart health. Blood pressure and cardiac output may drop as a result of them.
  • Nausea and vomiting- The most frequent side effects of inhalational anesthesia are nausea and vomiting following surgery. These symptoms are more frequently caused by certain substances like nitrous oxide.
  • Allergic fractions – Inhalational anesthetic agents may cause allergies. From minor allergic reactions to severe anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that poses a serious risk to life, these reactions can vary widely.
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Malignant hyperthermia

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