Nonimmobilizers (inhaled compounds that do not suppress movement in response to a noxious stimulus) resemble anesthetics in their capacity to suppress memory, but unlike anesthetics, they can cause convulsions. Higher concentrations of nonimmobilizers may cause death, even with apparent suppression of convulsions by the concurrent administration of conventional inhaled anesthetics. We hypothesized that nonimmobilizers can depress ventilation and can cause death by adding to the depression of ventilation produced by conventional anesthetics. To test these hypotheses, we administered 1,2-dichlorohexafluorocyclobutane (2N) to four pigs anesthetized with desflurane. The addition of 2N decreased PaCO2 and tended to increase the slope of the ventilatory response to imposed increases in PETCO2. Limited results from study of two other nonimmobilizers (2,3- dichlorooctafluorobutane and perfluoropentane), in two pigs each, were consistent with the findings for 2N. However, experimental limitations (e.g., toxicity of 2,3-dichlorooctafluorobutane, and hypoxia from perfluoropentane) confound interpretation of these latter results. Our findings do not support our hypotheses - 2N (and presumably all non-immobilizers) seems to be a respiratory stimulant, not a depressant. Implications: A new class of inhaled compounds, nonimmobilizers, allow tests of how inhaled anesthetics act. Nonimmobilizers may act like anesthetics (e.g., impair learning) or may not (e.g., do not prevent movement in response to a noxious stimulus). The present work shows that, unlike anesthetics, nonimmobilizers do not depress breathing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine