Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Titration of sevoflurane anesthesia to optimize the time to regain airway reflexes in patients undergoing elective surgery: A randomized clinical trial comparing desflurane and sevoflurane anesthesia. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2020 Jul;64(6):729-734



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85082340081 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   1 Citation


BACKGROUND: Desflurane has adverse environmental effects, but has clinical advantages to speed emergence and return of protective airway reflexes compared with sevoflurane. We hypothesized that weaning of the inspired sevoflurane during the final 15 minutes of surgery would eliminate differences in airway reflex recovery between these agents.

METHODS: After obtaining IRB approval and informed consent, 40 patients undergoing elective surgery (≥1-hour) randomly received desflurane or sevoflurane. Patients swallowed 20 mL of water without drooling or coughing, and then received sedation and PONV pre-medication. Anesthesia was induced using propofol and fentanyl and maintained with desflurane or sevoflurane through a laryngeal mask airway maintaining a bispectral index of 45-50 and 50-60 during the final 15 minutes before surgery end. Cardiorespiratory variables and age-adjusted minimal alveolar concentration were recorded. The duration between anesthetic discontinuation and first appropriate response to command was measured; the laryngeal mask airway was removed. Two minutes after responding to command, patients were positioned semi-upright and attempted to swallow water. If successful swallowing was not achieved, the test was repeated every 4 minutes after each failure until successful swallowing was achieved.

RESULTS: Average anesthetic concentration and bispectral index was similar in patients receiving desflurane vs sevoflurane. Response times after discontinuation of anesthetics were similar. There were no differences in the recovery of swallowing ability between desflurane and sevoflurane groups.

CONCLUSION: Weaning of sevoflurane during the final 15 minutes of surgery eliminates clinical advantages of the more rapid return of airway reflexes with desflurane.

Author List

Arain SR, Yu S, Dugan S, Pagel PS, Ebert TJ


Thomas J. Ebert MD, PhD Vice Chair, Professor in the Anesthesiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Paul S. Pagel MD, PhD Professor in the Anesthesiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Aged, 80 and over
Anesthesia Recovery Period
Anesthetics, Inhalation
Elective Surgical Procedures
Laryngeal Masks
Middle Aged
Young Adult