Evidence for a Halothane-Induced Reduction in Maximal Calcium-Activated Force in Mammalian Myocardium

  • Michael R. Berman
  • Eugenie S. Casella
  • Thomas J. J. Blanck
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 301)


In addition to their general anesthetic effects, the halogenated volatile anesthetics (e.g., halothane, enflurane, isoflurane) are known to significantly depress cardiac contractility. In the late 1960’s, Goldberg and Ullrick1 reported a dose-dependent and reversible depression of twitch force by halothane (as delivered by a calibrated vaporizer) in the range of 0.1% to 2.35%. They argued that “… halothane seems to exert its cardiac effects primarily by decreasing the intensity of the active state. …” In a comparative study of the effects of several general anesthetic agents on cardiac contractility, Brown and Crout2 reported similar results for halothane as well as for methoxyflurane. They, too, suggested that these agents exerted their cardio-depressive effects via a diminution of the active state of cardiac muscle. Although the concept of “active state” is no longer useful, it is known to be associated with the calcium transient; that is, the rapid rise and fall of intracellular free calcium concentration seen subsequent to electrical stimulation.


Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Volatile Anesthetic Anesthetic Concentration Tetanic Force Extracellular Calcium Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Berman
    • 1
  • Eugenie S. Casella
    • 1
  • Thomas J. J. Blanck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care MedicineThe Johns Hopkins HospitalBaltimoreUSA

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