An analyzer for in-line measurement of expiratory sulfur hexafluoride concentration

Anesthesiology. 1985 Jul;63(1):84-8. doi: 10.1097/00000542-198507000-00013.


An infrared analyzer for the inert tracer gas sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is described and evaluated. The analyzer consists of a transducer and a processor unit. It is designed to operate in a nonrebreathing system with a ventilator and a computer. The transducer, which is placed over a cuvette with windows in the ventilator tubings, reads the SF6 concentration in the airway during the expiratory phase. At the end of the inspiratory phase, the zero level of the instrument is automatically reset. The response time and linearity of the analyzer were tested, and interference by other gases was assessed. Full response was reached within 20 ms after a sudden introduction of 0.5% SF6 into the cuvette. The analyzer-computer system had adequate linearity below 0.5% of SF6. Oxygen, nitrogen, and humid air had no influence on the analyzer signal. One hundred per cent nitrous oxide, 4% enflurane, 4% isoflurane, and 4% halothane caused signals corresponding to 0.010, 0.023, 0.022, and 0.043% SF6, respectively. Due to the method for zero reset, the importance of interference from these gases is greatly reduced when inspired and expired concentration approach each other. The disturbance from CO2 (10% CO2 gave a signal corresponding to 0.020% SF6) can be compensated for by including a CO2 analyzer in the set-up. The rapid response and the high sensitivity of the analyzer may make it useful for studies of pulmonary gas mixing and for measurements of lung volume during mechanical ventilation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Fluorides / analysis*
  • Gases / analysis
  • Respiratory Function Tests / instrumentation*
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared / instrumentation*
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride / analysis*
  • Time Factors


  • Gases
  • Fluorides
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride