Halothane, enflurane, isoflurane, and fentanyl were examined for their potential to exacerbate liver dysfunction in rats with preexisting cirrhosis. Male Wistar rats given sodium phenobarbital for 2 weeks are assigned randomly to two groups. One group (cirrhotic) was exposed by inhalation to carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) in air at weekly intervals for 12 weeks to induce cirrhosis. The other group (noncirrhotic) was handled similarly but received air only. Five weeks after the last exposure to CCl4, cirrhotic and noncirrhotic rats were given three hours of 1 MAC halothane, mflurane, or isoflurane in 50% oxygen, or 350 μg fentanyl per kg of body weight and 50% oxygen, or 50% oxygen only. Blood gas tensions and blood glucose levels were measured before, during, and at the end of exposure. Forty-eight hours after exposure, serum chemistries were measured in each rat for comparison with preexposure values. Rats were then killed by CO2 overdose, and liver, kidney, and testis were prepared for microscopic examination. Enflurane, isoflurane, and halothane, but not fentanyl, produced mild respiratory acidosis and no change in serum glucose levels. All anesthetics resulted in a mild but similar degree of acute liver dysfunction as indicated by small increases in SGOT or SGPT in both cirrhotic and noncirrhotic rats. Liver histology revealed mild to moderate portal cirrhosis with fibrosis and well-developed micronodules in rats exposed to CCl4, but no superimposed acute hepatocellular damage was noted. It is concluded that all the anesthetics used in this study were associated with the same minimal degree of postanesthetic hepatic dysfunction and that the dysfunction was similar in both cirrhotic and noncirrhotic rats.
Address correspondence to Dr. Baden, Anesthesiology Service (112A), VA Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304.
© 1985 International Anesthesia Research Society