Desflurane (formerly I-653) is a new inhalaticnal anesthetic with a promising pharmacokinetic profile that includes low solubility in blood and tissue, including fat. Since its lipid solubility is less than that of other volatile agents, it may have lower potency. Low solubility would be expected to increase the rate at which alveolar concentration approaches inspired concentration during induction as well as to increase the rate of elimination of desflurane from blood at emergence. We determined the minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) of desflurane in 44 unpremedicated ASA physical status 1 or 2 patients undergoing elective surgery. We prospectively studied four patient groups distinguished by age and anesthetic regimen: 18-30 versus 31-65 yr and desflurane in 60% N2O/40% O2 versus desflurane in O2. Anesthesia was induced with desflurane or desflurane in 60% N2O/40% O2. MAC was determined by a modification of Dixon's up-and-down method with increments of 0.5% desflurane. The MAC of desflurane in O2 was 7.25 +/- 0.0 (mean +/- SD) in the 18-30-yr age group, and 6.0 +/- 0.29 in the 31-65-yr group; the addition of 60% N2O reduced the MAC to 4.0 +/- 0.29 and 2.83 +/- 0.58, respectively. The median time from discontinuation of desflurane to an appropriate response to commands was 5.25 min. Desflurane appears to be a mild airway irritant but was well tolerated by all patients.
(C) 1991 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.