White, K. L., Hird, J. F. R., Taylor, P. M. 2021. Sevoflurane or isoflurane anaesthesia? A prospective, randomised blinded clinical trial in horses undergoing elective surgery. Veterinary Record 189(3), e507.

Background: Isoflurane is the only volatile anaesthetic agent licensed for equine use in the United Kingdom, but sevoflurane is also commonly used. The two agents have rarely been compared for use in clinical elective surgery. Methods: This single centre, prospective, randomised, blinded clinical investigation recruited 101 healthy client owned horses undergoing elective surgery. Anaesthesia was standardised and horses randomly assigned to receive isoflurane (I) or sevoflurane (S) for maintenance of anaesthesia in 100% oxygen. Horses were ventilated to normocapnia and received intravenous fluid therapy and haemodynamic support with dobutamine to maintain mean arterial blood pressure above 60 mm Hg. Recovery was timed and video-recorded to allow offline evaluation by two experienced clinicians unaware of the volatile agent used. No post-anaesthetic sedation was administered. Results: There was no significant difference between groups in terms of haemodynamic support required during anaesthesia nor in quality or duration of recovery. Inotropic support to maintain MAP above 60 mm Hg was required by 67 of 101 (67%) of horses. Five horses in the I group required additional ketamine or thiopentone to improve the plane of anaesthesia. Conclusions: Haemodynamic support needed during anaesthesia as well as the duration and quality of recovery were similar with isoflurane and sevoflurane.

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