Anesthetic maintenance with propofol infusion is less expensive per minute of surgery than sevoflurane or desflurane

Brandon A. Van Noord, John Lee, Yao Ping Zhang, Philip Lumb, Valdimir Zelman, Frederico Bilotta, Eugenia Ayrian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Cost comparison between three common anesthetic agents. Design: Retrospective analysis. Patients had been randomized to anesthetic maintenance with either desflurane, sevoflurane, or propofol. Setting: Operating room in an academic medical center Patients: 103 patients undergoing general endotracheal anesthesia. Patients were ASA class I-III and between 18 and 75 years old. Cardiac, Neurologic, and regional cases were excluded. Outcome Measures: Volatile anesthetic cost was determined using the following formula: Cost = [(concentration) (FGF)(duration)(MW)(cost/ml)]/[2412)(D)]. To determine propofol cost, average infusion rate (mcg/kg/min.), patient weight, and duration were measured. Cost for each agent was then divided by surgical time to compare the results on a cost/min. basis. Results: Per minute of surgery, propofol was the least expensive agent for anesthetic maintenance at $0.12/min. Sevoflurane cost $0.18/min and desflurane cost $0.48/min. The differences between all three agents were statistically significant (p <0.05). Propofol maintenance was associated with a higher intra-operative fentanyl dose. The average fentanyl dose in the propofol group was 468 mcg, sevoflurane was 321 mcg, and desflurane was 284 mcg. There was no association between intra-operative fentanyl dose and anesthetic maintenance cost per minute of surgery. Surgical time did not significantly differ between the three groups and averaged over three hours. Conclusion: Anesthetic maintenance with propofol may help peri-operative physicians deliver care in the most cost effective manner possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-251
Number of pages4
JournalAnaesthesia, Pain and Intensive Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthetic maintenance
  • Cost
  • Desflurane
  • Propofol
  • Sevoflurane


Dive into the research topics of 'Anesthetic maintenance with propofol infusion is less expensive per minute of surgery than sevoflurane or desflurane'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this