Greening anaesthetics at St George’s: Phasing out Desflurane
St George’s is taking a whole host of steps to provide healthcare as sustainably as possible. This is in line with the NHS aim of having a net zero carbon footprint by 2040.
One of the most recent developments has been to phase out Desflurane in theatres. Desflurane is an anaesthetic gas that has a high impact on the environment.
In terms of climate change, Desflurane is 2540 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Just 1 litre of Desflurane has about the same emissions as a quarter of the average person’s annual emissions, or about the same as a return flight to Rio De Janeiro.
Emma Evans, Consultant Anaesthetist at St George’s and SWL Clinical Lead on Sustainability, said:
“At St George’s we’ve decided to stop buying Desflurane and to switch to much lower carbon alternatives for anaesthesia such as lower impact sevoflurane.
“We’re also eliminating nitrous oxide waste and developing more use of ultra-low emission total intravenous anaesthesia and regional anaesthesia, where just the part of the body being operated on is numbed. This will help us to reduce our carbon footprint and improve the health of the planet”.