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The purpose of this paper is to attempt to identify and quantify the cost differences in the United Kingdom (UK) between continuous-flow open anesthetic systems and low-flow closed systems. Due to the lack of reliable statistics, such an appraisal is difficult, and at best this paper can give only a likely indication of the actual costs involved. Costs will vary significantly from country to country, and a detailed study for any particular site is necessary if meaningful results are to be obtained.
Annual running costs for Raman laser, infrared, and piezoelectric type monitors have been estimated. A significant expense is the provision of the disposable gas sampling line, if it is changed in accordance with the manufacturer's recommended intervals.
An estimate is made of the money spent on volatile agents and anesthetic gases in the UK, and the potential savings from decreasing gas flow from 10 to 2 L/min. is also estimated. These figures are compared with the estimated cost of providing all operating theatres in the UK with anesthetic gas monitoring equipment.
Other factors such as additional expenditure on soda lime and savings on other monitoring equipment, e.g., oxygen analyzers, are taken into account.
The Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme is briefly explained, as well as the likely effect of the scheme on savings in the use of volatile agents.
anesthesia, gases, monitoring, economics, equipment, consumables
Superintendent, Product Group 1, London,