Pollution by inhalation anaesthetics has been suspected of being harmful to theatre personnel. Epidemiological studies have raised questions relating to excess of fetal malformations and miscarriages, hepatitis and cancer in operating theatre personnel. Sensible use of preventive measures renders the risks negligible, e.g. use of circle systems that allow low fresh gas flows, scavenging systems, and improved ventilation of theatres. The increasing use of total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) and regional anaesthesia will also reduce pollution.
Intravenous anaesthetics should be given only by those fully trained in their use and who are experienced with a full range of techniques of managing the airway, including tracheal intubation.
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