‘Green-gional’ anesthesia: the non-polluting benefits of regional anesthesia to decrease greenhouse gases and attenuate climate change
Volatile halogenated gases and nitrous oxide used as part of a balanced general anesthetic may contribute to global warming. By avoiding volatile inhalational agent use, regional anesthesia may reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help prevent global warming. We present a theoretical calculation of the potential benefits and a real-life example of how much regional anesthesia may reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Thus, increasing the use of regional anesthesia is potentially good for the climate, improves the quality of care (at least for hip and knee replacements), and may allow individual practitioners to take personal responsibility in the fight against global warming. Ultimately, the increased use of regional anesthesia for the purpose of decreasing our carbon footprint may initiate discussion of other ways to cut greenhouse gases at a larger (hospital/healthcare system) level.