Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis

Determination of sevoflurane and isopropyl alcohol in exhaled breath by thermal desorption gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for exposure assessment of hospital staff.

PMID 25619625


Volatile anaesthetics and disinfection chemicals pose ubiquitous inhalation and dermal exposure risks in hospital and clinic environments. This work demonstrates specific non-invasive breath biomonitoring methodology for assessing staff exposures to sevoflurane (SEV) anaesthetic, documenting its metabolite hexafluoroisopropanol (HFIP) and measuring exposures to isopropanol (IPA) dermal disinfection fluid. Methods are based on breath sample collection in Nalophan bags, followed by an aliquot transfer to adsorption tube, and subsequent analysis by thermal desorption gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS). Ambient levels of IPA were also monitored. These methods could be generalized to other common volatile chemicals found in medical environments. Calibration curves were linear (r(2)=0.999) in the investigated ranges: 0.01-1000 ppbv for SEV, 0.02-1700 ppbv for IPA, and 0.001-0.1 ppbv for HFIP. The instrumental detection limit was 10 pptv for IPA and 5 pptv for SEV, both estimated by extracted ion-TIC chromatograms, whereas the HFIP minimum detectable concentration was 0.5 pptv as estimated in SIM acquisition mode. The methods were applied to hospital staff working in operating rooms and clinics for blood draws. SEV and HFIP were present in all subjects at concentrations in the range of 0.7-18, and 0.002-0.024 ppbv for SEV and HFIP respectively. Correlation between IPA ambient air and breath concentration confirmed the inhalation pathway of exposure (r=0.95, p<0.001) and breath-borne IPA was measured as high as 1500 ppbv. The methodology is easy to implement and valuable for screening exposures to common hospital chemicals. Although the overall exposures documented were generally below levels of health concern in this limited study, outliers were observed that indicate potential for acute exposures.

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Y0001046 Sevoflurane, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard