The postoperative adverse effects of inhalational anesthetics

Bradley Boucher, W. O. Witt, T. S. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Inhalational general anesthetics can contribute to postoperative morbidity. Postoperative effects of inhalational anesthetics on the central nervous system are speculative. The 'toxic' effects of these agents during the postoperative period are most often an extension of their pharmacologic and physiochemical properties. Inhalational anesthetics may produce a number of varied changes in mental status after surgery such as headache, emergence excitement, and delirium. It is very important for health professionals to be aware of the risk of perioperative myocardial infarction in patients with preexisting heart disease if early detection and treatment are to occur. Relative to the common postoperative problems of atelectasis, pneumonia, and aspiration, inhalational agents may have a contributory role especially in patients with preexisting pulmonary disease. Postoperative nausea and vomiting are other common problems in which inhalational agents may have a role in their development. Although extensively investigated, suspected halothane hepatoxicity is a very rare complication if it exists at all. The renal effects of inhalational anesthetics are usually mild and transitory, although the use of methoxyflurane can produce direct nephrotoxicity. The evidence to support a clinically significant direct immunosuppressant effect of inhalational anesthetics after surgery is inconclusive. A concensus exists that any minor, short-lived effects are in all probability overshadowed by the nonspecific stress of surgery itself. By reducing this stress, anesthetics undoubtedly have a protective effect. There are probably no major mutagenic or carcinogenic effects of inhalational anesthetics under normal conditions. Inhalational anesthetics should be avoided during pregnancy because of their teratogenic potential and their effects on the uterus. Inhalational agents are associated with a wide variety of adverse effects. It would be prudent for clinicians to be aware of these potential adverse effects and review the anesthetic report as a routine component of their postoperative evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalHeart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Volume15
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

Fingerprint

Anesthetics
Preexisting Condition Coverage
Methoxyflurane
Aspiration Pneumonia
Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting
General Anesthetics
Pulmonary Atelectasis
Poisons
Halothane
Immunosuppressive Agents
Postoperative Period
Lung Diseases
Uterus
Headache
Heart Diseases
Central Nervous System
Myocardial Infarction
Morbidity
Kidney
Pregnancy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

The postoperative adverse effects of inhalational anesthetics. / Boucher, Bradley; Witt, W. O.; Foster, T. S.

In: Heart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care, Vol. 15, No. 1, 01.01.1986, p. 63-69.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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