To determine the effect of prematurity on the solubility of volatile anesthetics in blood, the authors measured the blood/gas partition coefficients of sevoflurane, isoflurane, and halothane and the serum concentrations of albumin, globulin, cholesterol, and triglycerides in umbilical venous blood from ten preterm and eight full-term neonates and in venous blood from eight fasting adult volunteers. The authors found that the blood/gas partition coefficient of sevoflurane did not differ significantly among the three age groups. The partition coefficients of isoflurane and halothane in preterm neonates did not differ significantly from those in full-term neonates. However, the partition coefficients of both anesthetics in neonates were significantly less than those in adults. The blood/gas partition coefficients of the three volatile anesthetics in preterm neonates did not change significantly with gestational age. The blood/gas partition coefficients of sevoflurane, isoflurane and halothane for all three age groups combined correlated only with the serum concentration of cholesterol. The authors conclude that the blood/gas partition coefficients of isoflurane, halothane, and sevoflurane in preterm neonates are similar to those in full term neonates and that gestational age does not significantly affect the blood/gas solubility.
(C) 1990 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.