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December 1967

Fatal Hepatic Necrosis Following Surgery: Possible Relation to Methoxyflurane Anesthesia

Author Affiliations


From the Medical Service of Grady Memorial Hospital and the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta.

Arch Intern Med. 1967;120(6):725-728. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.00300050081014

METHOXYFLURANE(Penthrane), a halogenated ether partially resembling halothane (Fluothane) in structure (see structural formula), has been used in general anesthesia since its introduction in 1959.1 Although the structure of halothane was modified by the substitution of a methoxy-group for a fluorine atom, the basic structures are similar and it would not be surprising if the biologic effect produced by each were also similar. There have been several reports of suspected hepatotoxicity secondary to halothane2-6 while there are only three reports in the

HALOTHANE METHOXYFLURANE English literature of severe liver damage secondary to methoxyflurane anesthesia.2,7,8 We recently had a patient on the Medical Service at Grady Memorial Hospital who developed fulminant liver failure with onset of symptoms approximately 14 days after orthopedic surgery in which methoxyflurane was the primary anesthetic agent. We offer this as a suspected example of massive hepatic necrosis related to the use of this halogenated