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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094On-line version ISSN 1806-907X


SARAIVA, Renato Ângelo. Desflurane: physicochemical properties, pharmacology and clinical use. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2003, vol.53, n.2, pp.214-226. ISSN 0034-7094.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Following the development of nuclear chemistry with halogenate synthesis in the 50’s of past century, several anesthetics were clinically studied and some of them had wide practical application. The search for the ideal agent continues. Currently, halothane, isoflurane, enflurane, sevoflurane and desflurane are in clinical use. All have advantages and disadvantages. Desflurane is the newest agent. This study aimed at describing physicochemical and pharmacological properties of desflurane and reporting clinical experiences with this agent. CONTENTS: Physicochemical properties and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of desflurane determine its clinical use. With a low boiling point, it volatizes easily in normal operating room temperatures and its high MAC requires it to be administered in high concentrations. So, the use of low fresh gas flow and special vaporizer is recommended for it to be economically feasible. In addition, the use of coadjuvant anesthetics, such as nitrous oxide, decreases its MAC and allows it to be used in lower concentrations. Its pharmacokinetics provides fast induction and recovery being also worth mentioning that it has a highly stable molecule and is minimally metabolized, thus being well tolerated by the human body. Its pharmacodynamic repercussions are dose-dependent and similar to other potent inhalation anesthetics. CONCLUSIONS: Desflurane is an additional step in the evolution toward the ideal anesthetic agent. Its physicochemical properties give it highly desirable pharmacokinetic characteristics which provide fast induction (progression) and recovery and also minimal metabolic degradation with the lowest organic toxicity among halogenate anesthetics, in addition to strong molecular stability, even in the presence of carbon dioxide absorbents. With special attention regarding vaporization, storage, and consumption, desflurane may be used even in large scale, being economically feasible.

Keywords : ANESTHETICS [Volatile]; ANESTHETICS [desflurane].

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