Not a day goes by in modern hospitals and health care institutions without the use of inhaled anesthetics for general anesthesia. Inhaled anesthetics have seen a great improvement over time as well in anesthetic effect and as being safer for patients and health care workers. However, occupational exposure to waste anesthetic gases (WAG) is far from being a problem solved. It is well agreed to keep the occupational exposure to a reasonable minimum by improved scavenging, ventilation and working habits alongside following national occupational exposure limits with waste gas exposure monitoring.
Exposure to the waste anesthetic gases may lead to several symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea. If the exposure is long-term, then the symptoms may result in birth defects, cancer, sterility and liver and kidney disease.
Waste anesthetic gas monitoring
The technique of cantilever enhanced photoacoustics combined with the filter based NDIR spectroscopy and low power electrically modulated broadband infrared (IR) source offers a reliable solution to real-time waste anesthetic gas monitoring. The cantilever enhanced photoacoustic multi-gas analyzer, designed to measure the most common anesthetic gases and several cross-interfering atmospheric components, achieves detection limits of low ppb level for isoflurane, sevoflurane, desflurane and nitrous oxide, with the response time of approximately one minute measuring in total of 6 gas components simultaneously. The measurement results are well reproducible under typically changing sample gas humidity conditions and the typical repeatability is under ±1 %.