Keck Medicine of USC is set to discontinue its use of desflurane, one of the most commonly used and environmentally toxic general anesthetics, in favor of more sustainable alternatives. The health system has not ordered any desflurane for the past year, so when the anesthetic runs out, it will no longer be used. The discontinuation is part of Keck Medicine’s commitment to reduce its impact on climate change and to implement healthier, more sustainable solutions wherever possible.
Studies show that desflurane is so harmful to the environment that an eight-hour surgery causes as much damage to the atmosphere as driving from Los Angeles to Maine. In its own call to action on pollution reduction, the California Society of Anesthesiologists noted that desflurane lingers for 14 years in the air.
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