A comparison of the haemodynamic effects of isoflurane and halothane anaesthesia in horses

A L Raisis, L E Young, K J Blissitt, J C Brearley, H B Meire, P M Taylor, P Lekeux

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The purpose of this study was to compare the haemodynamic effects of equipotent isoflurane and halothane anaesthesia. Six adult horses were investigated on two separate occasions at least 4 weeks apart. On both occasions anaesthesia was induced by ketamine 2.2 mg/kg bwt given 5 min after i.v. administration 100 mu g/kg bwt romifidine, Anaesthesia was maintained either by halothane or isoflurane (end-tidal concentrations 0.9-1.0% and 1.3-1.4%, respectively), Horses were ventilated by intermittent positive pressure to maintain PaCO2 between 40-50 mmHg. Haemodynamic variables were measured using catheter-mounted strain gauge transducers in the left and right ventricle, aorta, and right atrium, Cardiac output (CO), velocity time integral (VTI), maximal aortic blood flow velocity (V-max) and acceleration (dv/dt(max)), left ventricular pre-ejection period (PEP) and ejection time (ET) were measured from aortic blood flow velocity waveforms obtained by transoesophageal Doppler echocardiography. Flow velocity waveforms were recorded from the femoral arteries and veins using low pulse repetition frequency Doppler ultrasound. Time-averaged mean velocity (TAV), velocity of component a (TaVa), velocity of component b (TaVb) and early diastolic deceleration slope (EDDS) were measured. Pulsatility index (PI) and volumetric flow were calculated Microvascular blood flow was measured in the left and right semimembranosus muscles by laser Doppler flowmetry.

Maximal rate of rise of LV pressure (LVdp/dt(max)), CO, V-max, dv/dt(max), ET, VTI were significantly higher at all time points during isoflurane anaesthesia compared to halothane anaesthesia, Pre-ejection period and diastolic aortic blood pressure were significantly less throughout isoflurane anaesthesia compared to halothane, Isoflurane anaesthesia was associated with significantly lower systemic vascular resistance than halothane anaesthesia, Femoral arterial and venous blood flow were significantly higher and EDDS and PI were significantly lower during isoflurane anaesthesia compared to halothane anaesthesia, In addition during both halothane and isoflurane anaesthesia, femoral arterial flow was higher and EDDS and PI lower in the left (dependent) artery compared to the right (nondependent) artery,

This study supports previous work demonstrating improved left ventricular systolic function during isoflurane compared to halothane anaesthesia, This improvement was still evident after premedication with a potent-long acting alpha 2-adrenoreceptor agonist, romifidine, and induction of anaesthesia with ketamine. There was also evidence of increased hindlimb blood flow during isoflurane anaesthesia, However, there were differences observed in flow between the left and right hindlimb during maintenance of anaesthesia with each agent, suggesting that there mere differences in regional perfusion in anaesthetised horses caused by factors unrelated to agents administered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-326
Number of pages9
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000


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