Serum fluoride concentrations, biochemical and histopathological changes associated with prolonged sevoflurane anaesthesia in horses

B. Drjessen, L. Zarucco, Eugene Steffey, C. Mccullough, F. Del Piero, L. Melton, Birgit Puschner, Susan M Stover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The volatile anaesthetic sevoflurane is degraded to fluoride (F-) and a vinyl ether (Compound A), which have the potential to harm kidney and liver. Whether renal and hepatic injuries can occur in horses is unknown. Cardiopulmonary, biochemical and histopathological changes were studied in six healthy thoroughbred horses undergoing 18 h of low-flow sevoflurane anaesthesia. Serum F- concentrations were measured and clinical laboratory tests performed to assess hepatic and renal function before and during anaesthesia. Necropsy specimens of kidney and liver were harvested for microscopic examination and compared to pre-experimental needle biopsies. Cardiopulmonary parameters were maintained at clinically acceptable levels throughout anaesthesia. Immediately after initiation of sevoflurane inhalation, serum F- levels began to rise, reaching an ongoing 38-45 μmol 1-1 plateau at 8 h of anaesthesia. Serum biochemical analysis revealed only mild increases in glucose and creatinine kinase and a decrease in total calcium. Beyond 10 h of anaesthesia mild, time-related changes in urine included increased volume, glucosuria and enzymuria. Histological examination revealed mild microscopic changes in the kidney involving mainly the distal tubule, but no remarkable alterations in liver tissue. These results indicate that horses can be maintained in a systemically healthy state during unusually prolonged sevoflurane anaesthesia with minimal risk of hepatocellular damage from this anaesthetic. Furthermore, changes in renal function and morphology observed after sevoflurane inhalation are judged minimal and appear to be clinically irrelevant; they may be the result of anaesthetic duration, physiological stressors, sevoflurane (or its degradation products) or other unknown factors associated with these animals and study conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-347
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medicine Series A: Physiology Pathology Clinical Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • veterinary(all)


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