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We have determined the influence of 0.1 minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) of sevoflurane on ventilation, the acute ventilatory response to a step change in end-tidal carbon dioxide and the ventilatory response to sustained hypercapnia in 10 healthy adult volunteers. Subjects undertook a preliminary 10-min period of breathing air without sevoflurane to determine their normal ventilation and natural end-tidal PCO2. This 10-min period was repeated while breathing 0.1 MAC of sevoflurane. Subjects then undertook two procedures: end-tidal PO2 was maintained at 13.3 kPa and end-tidal PCO2 at 1.3 kPa above the subject's normal value for 30 min of data collection, first with and then without 0.1 MAC of sevoflurane. A dynamic end-tidal forcing system was used to generate these gas profiles. Sevoflurane did not significantly change ventilation: 10.1 (SEM 1.0) litre min-1 without sevoflurane, 9.6 (0.9) litre min-1 with sevoflurane. The response to acute hypercapnia was also unchanged: mean carbon dioxide response slopes were 20.2 (2.7) litre min-1 kPa-1 without sevoflurane and 18.8 (2.7) litre min-1 kPa-1 with sevoflurane. Sustained hypercapnia caused a significant gradual increase in ventilation and tidal volume over time and significant gradual reduction in inspiratory and expiratory times. Sevoflurane did not affect these trends during sustained hypercapnia. These results suggest that 0.1 MAC of sevoflurane does not significantly affect the acute ventilatory response to hypercapnia and does not modify the progressive changes in ventilation and pattern of breathing that occur with sustained hypercapnia.


Journal article


Br J Anaesth

Publication Date





204 - 209


Acute Disease, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Anesthetics, Inhalation, Depression, Chemical, Female, Humans, Hypercapnia, Male, Methyl Ethers, Respiration, Tidal Volume