Only carbon dioxide absorbents free of both NaOH and KOH do not generate compound A during in vitro closed-system sevoflurane: evaluation of five absorbents

Anesthesiology. 2001 Sep;95(3):750-5. doi: 10.1097/00000542-200109000-00030.


Background: Insufficient data exist on the production of compound A during closed-system sevoflurane administration with newer carbon dioxide absorbents.

Methods: A modified PhysioFlex apparatus (Dräger, Lübeck, Germany) was connected to an artificial test lung (inflow at the top of the bellow approximately/= 160 ml/min CO2; outflow at the Y piece of the lung model approximately/= 200 ml/min, simulating oxygen consumption). Ventilation was set to obtain an end-tidal carbon dioxide partial pressure of approximately 40 mmHg. Various fresh carbon dioxide absorbents were used: Sodasorb (n = 6), Sofnolime (n = 6), and potassium hydroxide (KOH)-free Sodasorb (n = 7), Amsorb (n = 7), and lithium hydroxide (n = 7). After baseline analysis, liquid sevoflurane was injected into the circuit by syringe pump to obtain 2.1% end-tidal concentration for 240 min. At baseline and at regular intervals thereafter, end-tidal carbon dioxide partial pressure, end-tidal sevoflurane concentration, and canister inflow (T degrees(in)) and canister outflow (T degrees(out)) temperatures were measured. To measure compound Ainsp concentration in the inspired gas of the breathing circuit, 2-ml gas samples were taken and analyzed by capillary gas chromatography plus mass spectrometry.

Results: The median (minimum-maximum) highest compound Ainsp concentrations over the entire period were, in decreasing order: 38.3 (28.4-44.2)* (Sofnolime), 30.1 (23.9-43.7) (KOH-free Sodasorb), 23.3 (20.0-29.2) (Sodasorb), 1.6 (1.3-2.1)* (lithium hydroxide), and 1.3 (1.1-1.8)* (Amsorb) parts per million (*P < 0.01 vs. Sodasorb). After reaching their peak concentration, a decrease for Sofnolime, KOH-free Sodasorb, and Sodasorb until 240 min was found. The median (minimum-maximum) highest values for T degrees(out) were 39 (38-40), 40 (39-42), 41 (40-42), 46 (44-48)*, and 39 (38-41) degrees C (*P < 0.01 vs. Sodasorb), respectively.

Conclusions: With KOH-free (but sodium hydroxide [NaOH]-containing) soda limes even higher compound A concentrations are recorded than with standard Sodasorb. Only by eliminating KOH as well as NaOH from the absorbent (Amsorb and lithium hydroxide) is no compound A produced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation / metabolism*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Ethers / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Fluorinated / metabolism*
  • Hydroxides
  • Methyl Ethers / metabolism*
  • Potassium Compounds
  • Sevoflurane
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Temperature


  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Ethers
  • Hydrocarbons, Fluorinated
  • Hydroxides
  • Methyl Ethers
  • Potassium Compounds
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Sevoflurane
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • fluoromethyl 2,2-difluoro-1-(trifluoromethyl)vinyl ether
  • potassium hydroxide