Use of volatile anesthetics during cardiopulmonary bypass: A systematic review of adverse events

Caetano Nigro Neto, Giovanni Landoni, Luigi Cassarà, Francesco De Simone, Alberto Zangrillo, Maria Angela Tardelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Recently, evidence of reduction in mortality due to the use of volatile agents during cardiac surgery led to an increase in their use during cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Because this technique could be beneficial to patients, but might present several hazards to new users, the authors decided to perform a systematic review of the main problems and complications. Design Systematic literature review. Setting Hospital. Participants Adults undergoing cardiac surgery with use of volatile anesthetic agents during CPB. Intervention Several databases were searched for pertinent studies to identify all reports on the adverse events of using volatile agents during CPB and all randomized controlled trials using volatile agents during CPB. Measurements and Main Results Six nonrandomized trials reporting adverse events or complications with the use of volatile agents during CPB for cardiac surgery were identified: 2 reporting low transfer of isoflurane to the blood with diffusion membrane oxygenators; 2 reporting iatrogenic causes of damage after spilling liquid isoflurane onto the surface of the membrane oxygenators while filling the vaporizer; and 2 suggesting that the use of volatile agents during CPB increased the pollution of the room and the risk of occupational exposure of the operating room staff. On the other hand, no adverse event was reported in 19 studies that randomized 1,195 patients to receive isoflurane, desflurane, or sevoflurane during CPB. Conclusion It is mandatory for industry to provide safe and easy-to-use devices to administer volatile agents during CPB with the standard membrane oxygenators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • anesthesia
  • cardiac surgery
  • cardiopulmonary bypass
  • desflurane
  • isoflurane
  • safety
  • sevoflurane
  • volatile anesthetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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