Monitoring of Volatile Anesthetics in Operating Room Personnel Using GC-MS

Subhi Al- Ghanem, Abdelkader H Battah, Abdulazim S Salhab


Objective: To estimate individual occupational exposure of operating room personnel to nitrous oxide, sevoflurane, isoflurane and halothane during regular working hours.

Methods: Volatile anesthetics in urine and breathing area air samples were measured in forty subjects. Passive samplers were collected after continuous five-to-seven hours of exposure. Further, thirty air samples, using passive samplers, were collected from 14 operating rooms of the Jordan University Hospital. All air and urine samples were analyzed using static headspace sampler coupled to capillary column GC-MS system.

Results: The monitored anesthetic volatile agents values of breathing area air samples were as the following (mean  SEM, ppm): 43.2  6.29, 4.16  2.38, 0.19  0.05 And 0.15  0.10 for nitrous oxide, sevoflurane, isoflurane and halothane, respectively. Whereas, values of the post- shift urine samples (mean  SEM, μg/l) were: 1234  209, 4.3  0.82, 3.75  0.7 and 9.9  1.2 for nitrous oxide, sevoflurane, isoflurane and halothane, respectively. Concerning operating rooms contaminations, the median and the (range) values for N2O were 90.4 ppm (12.2 – 327), for sevoflurane they were 16.4 ppm (2.14-53.7), for isoflurane 10.7 ppm (0.41-24.9) and for halothane 0.71 ppm (0.00 8-6.05).

Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, it is obvious that operating rooms personnel were exposed to high level of anesthetic agents and therefore, it is recommended to install efficient scavenging systems inside the operating rooms beside the regular maintenance of anesthetic machines. Moreover, the awareness of operating room personnel should be increased in order to minimize possible health risk.

Abbreviations: MS= Mass Spectrometry; GC= Gas liquid Chromatography; NIOSH= United States Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; JUH: Jordan University Hospital; MeOH= Methanol; ug= microgram; v/v= Volume to volume; SIM; Single Ion Monitoring; ppm= one part per million parts; TWA= Time Weighted Average: r2 =Correlation coefficient: SEM= Standard Error of the Mean


: Nitrous oxide, Sevoflurane, Isoflurane, Halothane, Automated GC-MS Headspace

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