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Malignant hyperthermia and the clean machine

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Following use with halothane, ten anaesthestic machines were sampled using infrared analysis for halothane contamination. Baseline measurements of halothane were made in the room and at the machine’s common gas outlet. Five per cent halothane with four litres per minute oxygen flow was delivered for ten minutes into a scavenged breathing circuit. Halothane was then discontinued, an oxygen flow rate of 12 litres per minute was begun, and continuous measurements were made until the halothane concentration became undetectable. Baseline measurements of the rooms and anaesthestic machines ranged from 0 to 0.8 parts per million. Following the oxygen flow, the halothane concentration decreased to undetectable levels within six minutes in all ten machines.


Nous avons analysé à l’infra-rouge, l’air ambiant et les gaz à la sortie de dix appareils d’anesthisie. Les mesures révelaient des concentrations d’halothane variant de 0 à 0.8 parties par million. Nous avons ensuite instilli dans un systéme respiratoire muni d’un dispositif anti-pollution, cinq pour cent d’halothane avec quatre litres min−1 d’oxygéne pendant dix minutes. Nous avons par la suite mesure continuellement le niveau d’halothane pendant le lavage du systeme avec 12 litre min−1 d’oxygéne. Avec les dix appareils, en moins de six minutes de lavage, la concentration d’halothane était passée sous le seuil de detection.


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Correspondence to Terrence T. McGraw.

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McGraw, T.T., Keon, T.P. Malignant hyperthermia and the clean machine. Can J Anaesth 36, 530–532 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03005381

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Key words

  • Anaesthetics, volatile: halothane
  • Equipment: anaesthetic machines
  • Hyperthermia: malignant