Uptake, Distribution, and Elimination of Volatile Anesthetics

  • H. Schmidt
Conference paper
Part of the Anaesthesiologie und Intensivmedizin Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine book series (A+I, volume 185)


Uptake, distribution, and elimination of inhalation anesthetics are largely dependent on inspiratory concentration, exposure time, and solubility of the corresponding anesthetic in blood and the different body fluids and tissues as well as alveolar ventilation and cardiac output of the patient. This means that for a volatile anesthetic with low solubility in blood, wash-in and wash-out must be more rapid than for an inhalation anesthetic with greater solubility in blood, if all other factors determining the kinetics of this compound remain constant. Eger [6] emphasizes that the different blood/gas distribution coefficients of the various presently used volatile anesthetics are of particular relevance to the controllability and the duration of the induction and final phase of inhalation anesthesia. The author refers to the results of concentration measurements of various anesthetic compounds in the inspired and expired air as well as in venous and arterial blood of subjects under delivery of subanesthetic concentrations [4, 8]. The published data demonstrate that isoflurane, with a blood/gas distribution coefficient of 1.4, has a clearly faster wash-in and wash-out than the inhalation anesthetic enflurane, with a blood/gas distribution coefficient of 1.9, or halothane, with a blood/gas distribution coefficient of 2.3, which have a better solubility in blood.


Volatile Anesthetic Isoflurane Anesthesia Inhalation Anesthetic Uptake Phase Isoflurane Concentration 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

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  • H. Schmidt

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