Sevoflurane and Desflurane: One of These Anesthesiology Gases Is Not Like the Other

Not only is desflurane much worse for the environment, it costs a lot more, as well.

Anesthesiologists hardly ever take that into account the environment when prepping patients for surgery, but maybe they should, as Kaiser Health News (KHN) reports this morning. Brian Chesebro, MD, an anesthesiologist at Providence Hospital in Portland, Ore., tells KHN that desflurane is 20 times more powerful than sevoflurane when it comes to trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition, it lasts for 14 years; sevoflurane breaks down in about one.

That made other anesthesiologists Chesebro shared his research pause and there’s also this: sevoflurane is considerably cheaper.

“When Chesebro shared his findings with the anesthesia departments at all eight Providence Health hospitals in Oregon, they prioritized the use of sevoflurane,” KHN reports. “They now save about $500,000 a year.”