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Properties of Liquids, Gases, and Vapors 

Properties of Liquids, Gases, and Vapors
Chapter:
Properties of Liquids, Gases, and Vapors
Author(s):

Sudha A. Bidani

and Stephen Stayer

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199381623.003.0004
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date: 25 August 2019

All potent inhaled anesthetics are halogenated methyl ethyl ethers except halothane, which is a halogenated alkane. The boiling points are variable. Most are above room temperature (sevoflurane, isoflurane, and halothane); however, desflurane boils at 23°C (73.4°F) and requires a special vaporizer. Most of the potent inhaled agents are also nonflammable and highly insoluble with the exception of diethyl ether. The vapor form tends to be heavier than air. These agents are usually mixed with a carrier gas— air, oxygen, and/or nitrous oxide—for administration. They also have variable blood/gas partition coefficients, which indicates how soluble the anesthetic gas is. Solubility determines how easily the gas is absorbed, and will be reflected in the speed of induction and emergence. Vaporizers, anesthetic circuits, mass spectrometers, and oximeters are useful and essential adjuncts for the safe administration of a modern-day anesthetic.

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