Solubility of haloether anesthetics in human and animal blood

Joao H N Soares, Robert J Brosnan, Fabíola B. Fukushima, Joanne Hodges, Hong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Anesthetic blood solubility predicts pharmacokinetics for inhaled agents and is essential for determination of blood anesthetic concentrations from end-tidal gas concentrations using Henry's Law. Though used to model anesthetic effects in humans, there are limited interspecies solubility comparisons that include modern haloethers. This study aimed to measure hematocrit-adjusted blood:gas anesthetic partition coefficients (λB:G) for desflurane, sevoflurane, isoflurane, and methoxyflurane in humans and animals. Methods: Whole blood was collected from 20 rats, 8 horses, and 4 each of cats, cattle, humans, dogs, goats, pigs, rabbits, and sheep. Plasma or cell volume was removed to adjust all samples to a packed cell volume of 40%. A single-agent calibration gas headspace was added to blood in a glass syringe and was mixed and equilibrated at 37°C for 2 h. Agent concentrations in the calibration gas and syringe headspace were measured using gas chromatography. Anesthetic solubility in saline, citrate-phosphate-dextrose-adenine, and olive oil were similarly measured. Results: Except for goats, all animal species had at least one λB:G measurement that differed significantly from humans. For each agent, λB:G positively correlated with serum triglyceride concentrations, but this only explained 25% of interspecies variability. Desflurane was significantly less soluble in blood than sevoflurane in some species (e.g., humans) but not in others (e.g., rabbits). Conclusions: Anesthetic partition coefficients differ significantly between humans and most animals for haloether anesthetics. Because of their similar λB:G values, goats may be a better animal model for inhaled anesthetic pharmacokinetics in people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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