Arrhythmogenic effect of hypercapnia in ducks anesthetized with halothane

Am J Vet Res. 2001 Jan;62(1):127-9. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.2001.62.127.


Objective: To determine effects of hypercapnia on arrhythmias in ducks anesthetized with halothane.

Animals: 12 ducks, 6 to 8 months old, weighing 1.1 to 1.6 kg.

Procedures: Each duck was anesthetized with a 1.5% mixture of halothane in oxygen, and anesthetic depth was stabilized during a 20-minute period. We added CO2 to the inspired oxygen to produce CO2 partial pressures of 40, 60, and 80 mm Hg in the inspired gas mixture.The CO2 partial pressure was increased in a stepwise manner. When arrhythmias were not evident during inhalation of the gas mixture at a specific CO2 partial pressure, the CO2 partial pressure was maintained for 10 minutes before a sample was collected for blood gas analysis. When arrhythmias were detected, a sample for blood gas analysis was collected after the CO2 partial pressure was maintained for at least 2 minutes, and CO2 inhalation then was terminated.

Results: During the stabilization period, PaCO2 (mean +/- SD) was 33 +/- 5 mm Hg,and arrhythmias were not detected. In 6 ducks, arrhythmias such as unifocal and multifocal premature ventricular contractions developed during inhalation of CO2. Mean PaCO2 at which arrhythmias developed was 67 +/- 12 mm Hg. In 5 of 6 ducks with arrhythmias, the arrhythmias disappeared after CO2 inhalation was terminated.

Conclusion and clinical relevance: Analysis of data from this study indicated that hypercapnia can lead to arrhythmias in ducks during halothane-induced anesthesia. Thus, ventilatory support to maintain normocapnia is important for managing ducks anesthetized with halothane.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Inhalation / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, Inhalation / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / blood
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / chemically induced
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / veterinary*
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood*
  • Ducks
  • Female
  • Halothane / pharmacology*
  • Hypercapnia / physiopathology
  • Hypercapnia / veterinary
  • Male
  • Partial Pressure
  • Poultry Diseases / blood
  • Poultry Diseases / chemically induced*


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Halothane