Revista Cirugía Mayor Ambulatoria Vol. 18 / Nº 2
Economic considerations in the use of inhaled anesthesic agents
J. Golembiewski
Purpose: To describe the components of and factors contributing to the costs of inhaled anesthesia, basis for quantifying and comparing these costs, and practical strategies for performing pharmacoeconomic analyses and reducing the costs of inhaled anesthetic agents.
Summary: Inhaled anesthesia can be costly, and some of the variable costs, including fresh gas flow rates and vaporizar settings, are potential targets for cost savings. The use of a low fresh gas flow rate maximizes rebreathing of exhaled anesthetic gas and is less costly than a high flow rate, but it provides less control of the level of anesthesia. The minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) hour is a measure that can be used to compare the cost of inhaled anesthetic agents at various fresh gas flow rates. Anesthesia records provide a sense of patterns of inhaled anesthetic agent use, but the amount of detail can be limited. Cost savings have resulted from efforts to reduce the direct costs of inhaled anesthetic agents, but reductions in indirect costs through shortened times to patient recovery and discharge following the judicious use of these agents are more difficult to demonstrate. The patient case mix, fresh gas flow rates typically used during inhaled anesthesia, availability and location of vaporizers, and anesthesia care provider preferences and practices should be taken into consideration in pharmacoeconomic evaluations and recommendations for controlling the costs of inhaled anesthesia.
Conclusion: Understanding factors that contribute to the costs of inhaled anesthesia and considering those factors in pharmacoeconomic analyses and recommendations for use of these agents can result in cost savings.

CIR MAY AMB 2013; 18 (2): 69-72


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