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Anesthetizing Patients and Their Immune Systems: Volatile Anesthetics at Work

Wanderer, Jonathan P. MD, MPhil; Nathan, Naveen MD

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000001533
Infographic: Infographic

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (

Infographic composed by Jonathan P. Wanderer MD, MPhil, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (, and Naveen Nathan MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (

Illustration by Naveen Nathan MD. The creators of this infographic declare no conflicts of interest.

Abbreviations: GABA, gamma amino butyric acid; nACh, nicotinic acetylcholine; NMDA, N-methyl-D-Aspartate; POCD, postoperative cognitive dysfunction.

While volatile anesthetics are known primarily for their ability to provide general anesthesia, they also have important effects that extend beyond the nervous system and include modulation of the immune system. In this infographic, we review the impact that volatile anesthetics have on specific components of the immune system, and potential clinical implications that utilization of volatile anesthetics have on perioperative care.

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1. Yuki K, Eckenhoff RGMechanisms of the immunological effects of volatile anesthetics: a review.Anesth Analg2016123326335
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