Role of Reactive Intermediates in Halothane Associated Liver Injury

  • I. Glenn Sipes
  • A. Jay Gandolfi
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB)


Halothane (1,1,1-trifluorobromochloroethane) was introduced into clinical practice in 1957. Because of its pharmacological characteristics of rapid induction and emergence, potency and minimal post anesthetic effects, it rapidly gained acceptance as the most widely used inhalation anesthetic. To date, the major drawbacks to its continued, widespread use are isolated case reports of unexplained post-anestetic jaundice, often referred to as “halothane hepatitis” (Brown and Sipes, 1977). The appearance of unexplained hepatitis following halothane anesthesia is rare with reported incidences of one in 7,000 to 30,000 halothane anesthesias (Strunin, 1977). Because of this low incidence, coupled with pathological and clinical features indistinguishable from viral hepatitis, the debate has continued for over 20 years as to the hepatotoxic potential of halothane. Indeed, the numerous prospective and retrospective clinical studies did little to determine whether halothane was a causitive factor in post-operative liver injury. Thus, because of the rarity and unpredictability of unexplained hepatitis following halothane, it has been difficult to establish that halothane is responsible for liver injury.


Liver Injury Covalent Binding Halothane Anesthesia Inspire Oxygen Concentration Volatile Metabolite 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Glenn Sipes
    • 1
  • A. Jay Gandolfi
    • 1
  1. 1.Toxicology Program and Department of AnesthesiologyArizona Health Sciences CenterTucsonUSA

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