Evidence-Based Project: Cost Savings and Reduction in Environmental Release With Low-Flow Anesthesia.

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Publication Date


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AANA journal


Closed-circuit; compound A; inhalation anesthesia; low-flow anesthesia; washington; spokane; PSHMC


Volatile anesthetic agents act as greenhouse gases. Low-flow anesthesia techniques (≤1 L/min) are associated with lower costs. Decreasing volatile anesthetic delivery provides safe and effective strategies for anesthesia providers to decrease costs and reduce environmental pollution. This evidence-based project aimed to estimate cost savings and reduction in the environmental release of anesthetic gases, under simulated lower fresh gas flow (FGF) practices. For each surgical case, the exhaled anesthetic gas percent and FGF data were used to calculate the volume of fluid volatile anesthetic. The fluid volatile anesthetic for each case was then estimated using simulated FGFs. Changes in volatile agent cost and environmental release of anesthetic gases were predicted. Sevoflurane was the most commonly used volatile agent. The mean FGF for cases using sevoflurane was 2.5 L/min. The simulated FGF of 1 L/min FGF across all agents predicted a 48% ($50,892) reduction in costs of volatile anesthetics and a 42% (33 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) decrease in carbon emissions. Simulated low-flow anesthesia demonstrated cost savings and environmental conservation. Project findings align with current literature showing that lowering FGFs represents an area of cost containment and an opportunity to lessen the environmental impact of anesthesia.