The effect of sevoflurane on interventions for blood loss during dilation and evacuation procedures at 18-24 weeks of gestation: A randomized controlled trial

Elizabeth Micks, Alison Edelman, Rosanne Botha, Paula Bednarek, Mark Nichols, Jeffrey T. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Objective The objective was to evaluate whether the use of sevoflurane during general anesthesia for dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures increases the frequency of interventions to treat excess bleeding. Study design A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of a standardized general anesthesia protocol with or without inhaled sevoflurane for D&Es between 18 and 24 weeks' gestation was performed. The primary outcome was need for any intervention to treat blood loss. Secondary outcomes included measured blood loss, procedure time, complications, side effects, patient satisfaction and provider ease of procedure. Results One hundred sixty subjects were randomized. Those in the sevoflurane group were slightly more likely to have interventions for bleeding as compared to those subjects who did not receive sevoflurane (25% versus 16.3%, p=.17) or a measured blood loss above 300 mL (15% versus 7.5%, p=.13); however, these differences could have arisen by chance. Most cases of excess bleeding required only minor interventions, including uterine massage and/or uterotonic agents. Procedure time, complications, side effects, satisfaction and ease of procedure were similar between groups. Conclusion Addition of sevoflurane to general anesthesia during a D&E between 18 and 24 weeks' gestation did not increase the risk of intervention for bleeding; however, this study was underpowered to detect clinically important differences. Implications In this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial, sevoflurane did not significantly increase the risk of intervention for bleeding during D&Es. However, this agent should be used with caution as an anesthetic for surgical abortions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-494
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015



  • Abortion
  • General anesthesia
  • Pregnancy termination
  • Sedation
  • Volatile anesthetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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