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November 1970


Author Affiliations

Columbus, Ohio

Arch Ophthalmol. 1970;84(5):705. doi:10.1001/archopht.1970.00990040707034

To the Editor.  —Air pollution in our working environment, the operating room, may constitute a health hazard of significant danger to us. Recent case reports have incriminated overflow halothane vapor originating from the pop-off valve of anesthesia machines as the etiological agent causing recurrent hepatitis in two anesthesiologists.1,2 Although the anesthesiologists may inhale the greatest amounts of vapor, measurable concentrations of halothane have been detected at a distance of four feet from the anesthetic machine even in well ventilated operating rooms.3Halothane is not an hepatotoxin; however, rare individuals may develop massive hepatic necrosis after inhalation of this agent.4 This is assumed to be a hypersensitivity phenomenon probably due to biotransformed metabolites of halothane and is more common after multiple exposures.4-6 A higher rate of halothane biotransformation has been reported in anesthesiologists than in pharmacists who had no personal exposure to this drug.7 The effects

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