Hazardous Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU): Reality or Myth A Case Study
UNIFORMED SERVICES UNIV OF THE HEALTH SCIENCES BETHESDA MD BETHESDA United States
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Research has linked various health problems with chronic exposure to anesthetic waste gases. Few studies have explored anesthetic waste gases in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit PACU. Newer halogenated anesthetic agents such as Sevoflurane and Desflurane have expedient recoveries and theoretically, limit exposure time to waste anesthetic gases in PACU. Exposure of recovery room nurses to Sevoflurane was measured in this descriptive study. Sequential air samples from PACU nurse s breathing space were taken while they administered routine post operative care. The sample included two PACU nurses working day shifts who were assigned to patients only anesthetized with Sevoflurane. Other variables of interest were recorded which included patients age sex, weight, body mass index BMI, respiratory rate, MAC hours of Sevoflurane, and time from discontinuation of Sevoflurane until patients entered monitoring areas in PACU. All measurements were within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH standards for trace anesthetic gases. Fluctuations in Sevoflurane levels occurred and higher levels corresponded with the PACU nurse caring for two patients anesthetized with Sevoflurane concurrently, in addition, those same patients had higher MAC hours of Sevoflurane. In this study of a PACU in a medium size hospital, Sevoflurane levels did not exceed NIOSH standards for waste anesthetic gases.
- Physical Chemistry