Sustainable anaesthesia - reducing desflurane usage

Sam Freeman's picture

I am looking to reduce the environmental impact of the anaesthetic department that I am currently working in. In particular, I'd like to reduce the amount of desflurane use, as this is known to be a particularly potent greenhouse gas.

Has anyone done any similar projects in their departments, who can share some tips of how best to measure desflurane usage, and how best to nudge behaviour away from desflurane use?

It would be great to have some advice / tips on what works well and what doesn't, before I start this project



Harriet Dean-Orange's picture

Hi Sam,

I know a lot of work has been done in this area by a Doctor from Health Care Without Harm. Apologies I cannot remember his name, but worth investigating!

Hope this helps!

At my work, we have found a list of the prices of all anaethetic gases on the wall helps people at least have an awareness of the financial impact. TIVA is being very popular but of course has it's own environmental impact! 

Harriet Dean-Orange


Project Drawdown - ASA's Inhaled Anaesthesia Climate Initiative

Fiona Brennan's picture

Hi Sam,

I presented and commenced project drawdown to my department last month.

The aim is to reduce the C02e footprint from inhaled anaesthetic agents of your facility by 2020. But I have taken this as a departmental project looking at our Sevo/Des/Iso footprint, to discourage Desflurane uasge and to use our volatiles as efficently and resposibily as possible.

I'll be looking at data from next month to see if anything has changed.

I was able to get all our departments baseline data on Des/Sevo/Iso usage and costs from our peri-op pharmacist and accountant. They were able to break it down into monthly and annual usage as well as break it down by area. I work in a large teaching hospital across 2 sites.

Happy to provide more details if required/wished.

Bring project drawdown to every anaesthtic dept!

Good luck



Anaesthetic gas - monitoring practice and motivating change

Fiona Brennan's picture

Search the above subject title on this website  for previous projects undertaken in this area also


Baseline Gas Usage DH.pdf

Matthew Jenks's picture

Hi Sam, good plan to target Desflurane. In my department in NZ i have taken the approach of quarterly updates on our anaesthetic gas usage and gentle prodding and encouraging to reduce Desflurane use. I email out report as well as posting on our department webpage. I measure usage by getting info on how many bottles of sevo and des are used per month and calculate footprint from table pasted in above (from AAGBI newsletter). I then get data from our managers on total theatre time in minutes per month. From that you can work out the carbon intensity of our anaesthetic gas usage (grams of C02-e/min of theatre time). I also like to equate it to km driven in toyota corolla for extra impact. (see attached baseline report). Socialising is a good strategy too. If you can compare to a similar department or between departments can get some friendly rivalry driving change. Good luck! Matt Jenks


CO2-e bottles of desflurane and sevoflurane

Matthew Jenks's picture

It seems the table i referred to didnt load so have attached as a pdf. Was from an AAGBI newsletter i cant remember when!


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