Background The large number of anaesthetics administered means that the total cost to a hospital of inhalational anaesthetic agents such as isoflurane or sevoflurane can be considerable. Although the high cost of the use of inhaled anaesthetic agents in part represents the large number of patients that receive them, anaesthetists have a duty to use these drugs in a responsible and cost-effective way.
Purpose As part of a collaborative working initiative, a study of anaesthetic gas use in hospitals was conducted. The purpose of this study was to identify and compare the choice of anaesthetic agents between the two vanguard hospital sites. The plan was to feed back the results to the respective anaesthetic departments and use the results to inform good practice
Material and methods The study was conducted over 2 weeks at both hospitals. The study was conducted using a form which the anaesthetist would complete during a procedure. The same form was used for both hospital audits.
Results In total 157 cases were included in the study. The results show that across both hospitals sevoflurane was the most commonly used inhaled anaesthetic agent (75%); followed by desflurane (18% usage exclusively at one hospital) and isoflurane (7%).
The study showed that sevoflurane was the most commonly used agent and overall there was a range of fresh gas flow rates being used.
There were a range of reasons for the choice of inhaled anaesthetic, but the main reason for the use was to reduce side-effects and the use of laryngeal mask airway anaesthesia.
Conclusions Like most studies this also presented some limitations. The forms required the completion by a consultant. This meant consistency of response cannot be guaranteed. There was also a significant difference in response rate over the 2 weeks.
The outcomes to this study will be fed back to the respective anaesthetic departments. Ensuring low-flow anaesthetic machines are available and increasing the use of isoflurane as an alternative agent, has the potential to save a significant amount of money.
Reference and/or Acknowledgements 1. Pharmacoeconomics of volatile inhalational anaesthetic agents: 11-year retrospective analysis. Anaesthesia and Intensive CareSep 2010;38(5);849–854.
No conflict of interest
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