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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Surgeon's occupational exposure to nitrous oxide and sevoflurane during pediatric surgery.

Health hazards from occupational exposure to trace concentrations of anaesthetic gases cannot be definitively excluded. The aim of the study was to determine the surgeon's occupational exposure to nitrous oxide and sevoflurane during pediatric surgical procedures. Twenty young children (age < 10 years) and five teenagers (age > 10 years) underwent elective abdominal surgery under general inhalational anesthesia. The operating room was equipped with modern air conditioning and waste anesthetic gas scavenger. Levels of both nitrous oxide and sevoflurane were determined in the breathing zone of the surgeon and the anesthesiologist during the operative procedures by means of a direct-reading photoacoustic infrared spectrometer. Both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist were exposed to low concentrations of the inhalational agents used. Exposure to sevoflurane and nitrous oxide was clearly higher during surgery in young children than during operative procedures in teenagers. Nonetheless, the concentrations of these agents were well below the threshold limits of 25 ppm for nitrous oxide and 2 ppm for sevoflurane recommended by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. General anesthesia results in operating room air pollution with inhalational anesthetics. Under modern air conditioning, personnel's occupational exposure is low, and inhalational anesthesia is safe from the standpoint of modern workplace laws and health care regulations. Nonetheless, all efforts must be taken to maintain occupational exposure at this low level.[1]


  1. Surgeon's occupational exposure to nitrous oxide and sevoflurane during pediatric surgery. Byhahn, C., Heller, K., Lischke, V., Westphal, K. World journal of surgery. (2001) [Pubmed]
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