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Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number 57041-67-5
ATC code N01AB07
PubChem 42113
DrugBank APRD00907
Chemical data
Formula C3H2F6O 
Mol. mass 168.038 g/mol
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability  ?
Metabolism Not metabolized
Half life Elimination dependent on minute ventilation
Excretion  ?
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.


Legal status
Routes  ?

Desflurane (2-(difluoromethoxy)-1,1,1,2-tetrafluoro-ethane) is a highly fluorinated methyl ethyl ether used for maintenance of general anaesthesia. Together with sevoflurane, it is gradually replacing isoflurane for human use, except in the third world where its high cost precludes its use. It has the most rapid onset and offset of the volatile anaesthetic drugs used for general anaesthesia due to its low solubility in blood.

The major drawbacks of desflurane are its low potency, its pungency and its high cost. It may cause tachycardia and airway irritability when administered at concentrations greater than 10 vol%. Due to this airway irritability, Desflurane is infrequently used to induce anesthesia via inhalation techniques.

Though it vaporises very readily, it is a liquid at room temperature. Anaesthetic machines are fitted with a specialized anaesthetic vaporiser unit that heats liquid desflurane to a constant temperature. This enables the agent to be available at a constant vapor pressure, negating the effects that fluctuating ambient temperatures would otherwise have on its concentration imparted into the fresh gas flow of the anesthesia machine.

Desflurane, along with enflurane and to a lesser extent isoflurane, has been shown to react with the carbon dioxide absorbant in anesthesia circuits to produce detectable levels of carbon monoxide through degradation of the anesthetic agent. Baralyme appears less prone to cause this degradation than soda lime. Dry conditions in the carbon dioxide absorbant are conducive to this phenomenon, such as those resulting from high fresh gas flows.[1]

Physical properties

Boiling point : 23.5 °C (at 1 atm)
Density : 1.465 g/cm³ (at 20 °C)
Molecular Weight : 168
Vapor pressure: 88.5 kPa 672 mmHg (at 20 °C)
107 kPa 804 mmHg (at 24 °C)
Blood:Gas partition coefficient : 0.42
Oil:Gas partition coefficient : 19
MAC : 6 vol %


  1. ^ Fang, et. al. (1995). Carbon Monoxide Production from Degradation of Desflurane (English). Anesthesia and Analgesia.

Book references

  • Eger, Eisenkraft, Weiskopf. The Pharmacology of Inhaled Anesthetics. 2003.
  • Rang, Dale, Ritter, Moore. Pharmacology 5th Edition. 2003.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Desflurane". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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