Protecting Healthcare Workers by Monitoring Anesthetic Gas

Waste anesthetic gases can pose a considerable risk and health hazard within a hospital setting. These need to be monitored and controlled in order to protect both patients and healthcare workers. This should be done by monitoring both the time-weighted average and the peak values as these can vary by several orders of magnitude.

Two common measurement methods currently exist. These are badges worn by healthcare workers which are analyzed following exposure, and gas analyzers which must be configured in advance to detect the anesthetic gases in question.

However, these typical means of measuring waste anesthetic gas often lack the sensitivity to measure low levels of these gases, and they are not fast enough to measure transient leakage levels that could be above acceptable levels.

To address this very real risk, DRS Daylight Solutions has developed ChemDetect™, a range of mid-infrared spectrometer solutions.


In one example during open-heart surgery on a sheep, simultaneous readings of waste anesthetic gases were taken with a common gas analyzer and ChemDetect™ - a DRS Daylight Solutions mid-IR spectrometer using tunable External Cavity Quantum Cascade Laser™ technology and solid-state detectors.

These readings were taken in numerous areas of the operating room including in close proximity to the gas handling equipment and the operating table itself. To expand on the testing parameters, measurements were also taken in an empty operating room, and the following four anesthetic gases were measured with both instruments simultaneously: Isoflurane, Desflurane, Halothane, and Sevoflurane.

The ChemDetect™ spectrometer was able to identify each gas, displaying its concentration automatically with no prompts from the user. With the traditional gas analyzer, this had to be set to a measurement mode first of all, of course, assuming that the user knew the gas being measured. This additional user-generated step could be a potential failure point.


Within the test, the ChemDetect™ spectrometer was much more responsive and sensitive than the typical gas analyzer, showing that it would do a much better job of protecting healthcare workers from chronic or acute exposure to waste anesthetic gases.

Isoflurane, Desflurane, Halothane, and Sevoflurane levels were tested with a 1.22 meter gas cell with a 10 s update rate.

In fact, sensitivity to the waste anesthetic gases tested was considerably higher on the DRS Daylight Solutions mid-IR spectrometer (by a factor of 3 in fact) than the typical gas analyzer. ChemDetect™ also picked up the correct full value in spike tests, responding up to 6 minutes faster than the typical gas analyzer.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Daylight Solutions Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit Daylight Solutions Inc.


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