The maternal and neonatal effects of the volatile anaesthetic agents desflurane and sevoflurane in caesarean section: a prospective, randomized clinical study

J Int Med Res. 2006 Mar-Apr;34(2):183-92. doi: 10.1177/147323000603400208.


This study compared maternal and neonatal outcomes in women undergoing elective caesarean section under general anaesthesia with desflurane or sevoflurane; the neonatal effects were also compared with those in women undergoing epidural anaesthesia. Fifty women requesting general anaesthesia were randomly assigned to receive either 3% desflurane or 1% sevoflurane. Twenty-five women requesting regional anaesthesia received epidural anaesthesia with ropivacaine. Comparing desflurane sevoflurane with respect to their maternal haemodynamic effects, maternal blood pressure levels were higher and tachycardia was more frequent in the desflurane group. Comparing general and epidural anaesthesia, no significant differences were detected in terms of neonatal Apgar scores or neurological adaptive capacity scores. In conclusion, 3% desflurane or 1% sevoflurane for general anaesthesia and ropivacaine for epidural anaesthesia for elective caesarean section had similar effects on neonatal outcomes. In women who received desflurane, blood pressure and heart rate elevation were significantly higher than in the sevoflurane group, though this difference did not have any clinical importance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, Epidural
  • Anesthesia, Inhalation
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation / pharmacology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Desflurane
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Isoflurane / analogs & derivatives*
  • Isoflurane / pharmacology
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Methyl Ethers / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sevoflurane


  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Methyl Ethers
  • Sevoflurane
  • Desflurane
  • Isoflurane