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The Benefits of Low-Flow Anesthesia
Surgical facilities can save money and the environment by using less anesthetic gas during surgery.
Joe Paone | Senior Editor
Publish Date: November 16, 2021   |  Tags:   Anesthesia Environmental Stewardship Financial Management
Low flow
RELATIVE HUMIDITY By using low flows of anesthesia gases, anesthesia providers are better able to keep the patient’s airway moist.

Anesthesia providers who dial back the anesthetic gases could save your facility money and go greener. The idea behind low-flow anesthesia is quite simple: Adjusting flows of inhalational agents to a “just right” level of administration benefits the patient because, with less fresh gas flowing, humidity is better maintained in the airway. The practice also limits the amount of gas that’s used and waste that must be scavenged, making it a safe, environmentally friendly and fiscally responsible choice.

“Among anesthesiologists, low-flow anesthesia is known and used intermittently,” says Beverly Philip, MD, FACA, FASA, immediate past president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). “What is coming to the forefront now are the reasons why it should be used. The patient care advantages have been known for some time, but the issue of needing to conserve costs is becoming more important, as is concern about the environment. The ‘why bother?’ has become more prominent.”

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