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June 1989

The Rate of Sulfur Hexafluoride Escape From a Plastic Syringe

Author Affiliations

From the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute (Drs Humayun, Yeo, and Michels) and Department of Chemistry (Dr Koski), The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(6):853-854. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070010875033

• Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas is widely used for internal tamponade during retinal reattachment surgery and is commonly injected into the eye from a 10-mL plastic syringe. The rate of diffusion of SF6 out of a plastic syringe has not been studied. We measured the percentage of SF6 gas in a 10-mL plastic syringe by gas chromatography, confirmed by infrared spectrometry. Measurements were obtained immediately after aspiration, and at 30 s and 10, 15, 60, 90, and 120 minutes, and 18 hours. A marked decrease in SF6 concentration, from 97% at 30 s to 76% at 60 minutes and 2% at 18 hours, was noted. The results were highly reproducible. Sulfur hexafluoride gas should be injected into the patient's eye as soon as possible after aspiration from the tank to ensure accurate concentrations.