Effect of alfentanil on the minimum alveolar concentration of isoflurane in cats

Jan Ilkiw, Peter J Pascoe, Linda D. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective - To evaluate effect of incremental doses of alfentanil on isoflurane minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) in cats to determine whether alfentanil reduces isoflurane MAC and, if so, maximal isoflurane MAC reduction. Animals - 6 healthy spayed female cats. Procedure - Cats were anesthetized with isoflurane and instrumented to allow collection of arterial blood for measurement of gas tensions, pH, and plasma alfentanil concentration and to measure arterial blood pressure. Isoflurane MAC was determined in triplicate, and alfentanil was administered IV, using a computer-driven syringe pump to achieve estimated plasma alfentanil concentrations of 50, 100, 250, 500, 750, and 1,000 ng/ml; isoflurane MAC was determined at each alfentanil concentration. Cats were allowed to recover, and the process was graded as poor, good, or excellent. Results - Alfentanil had a significant dose effect on isoflurane MAC reduction. Significant regression was found for normalized isoflurane MAC versus estimated plasma alfentanil concentration. A quadratic term was necessary to fit the model and, using this curve, MAC reduction (35.0 ± 6.6%) was estimated to be maximal at a plasma alfentanil concentration of 500 ng/ml. Significant differences were evident in rectal temperature, bicarbonate concentration, base deficit, arterial carbon dioxide and oxygen tensions, and arterial pH between isoflurane alone and some plasma alfentanil concentration and the corresponding reduction in isoflurane concentration. Conclusions - Infusion of alfentanil resulted in maximal MAC reduction midway between that reported for horses and dogs. At such plasma alfentanil concentration, adverse effects were minimal, but included increase in rectal temperature, metabolic acidosis, and decrease in Pa(O2). Provided cats were not handled during the recovery period, recovery was smooth and quiet. Clinical Relevance - Infusion of alfentanil decreases the need for potent inhalant anesthetics in cats and could potentially be a clinically useful anesthetic regimen in sick cats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1279
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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