Nitrous Oxide Safe for Surgery Patients With Heart Disease

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Nitrous oxide appears to be safe as an anesthetic for patients with or at high risk for CVD.
Nitrous oxide appears to be safe as an anesthetic for patients with or at high risk for CVD.

(HealthDay News) — Nitrous oxide is a safe anesthetic for surgery patients who have or are at risk for cardiovascular disease, according to research scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in San Diego.

The findings are "welcome news because nitrous oxide is widely used around the world as part of the mixture of agents for general anesthesia," lead author Kate Leslie, MD, a professor at Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia, said in an American Society of Anesthesiologists news release. 

"Nitrous oxide is inexpensive, simple to administer, and helps with pain as well as anesthesia."

The researchers included nearly 6,000 patients who had non-cardiac surgery. The study volunteers received either general anesthesia with nitrous oxide or general anesthesia with nitrogen. A year after surgery, there was no difference in rates of heart attack, stroke, disability, or death between the two groups.

"This helps alleviate concerns raised in recent years about the effect of nitrous oxide on the heart and vascular system," Leslie said.

Reference

  1. Leslie K. Anesthesiology Clinical Trials Session. Anesthesiology 2015; Oct. 24-28, 2015; San Diego.
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