Waste Anesthetic Gases (WAGs)

September 2016 by Karen Basher, LVT, VTS-Anesthesia

Audience: Executive Leadership, Veterinary Team

Video Length: 46 minutes

Waste anesthetic gases (WAGs) are anesthetic vapors that escape the patient and/or the anesthetic system and enter the environment. The inhalation anesthetic agents currently used in the veterinary profession are classified as "halogenated hydrocarbons."  Without proper scavenging systems and preventative maintenance, WAGs can cause heath issues to personnel that are in constant contact.  These can be short term as well as long term side effects. The detection of WAGs by their odor alone would indicate the existence of very high levels, as these agents do not have a strong odor at low concentrations.  Some of the many ways to reduce exposure to WAGs is by having adequate ventilation, scavenging systems, and preventative maintenance done to anesthesia machines.  Pressure checking machines daily and prior to the start of each case is essential in eliminating WAGs. This presentation was recorded at the 2016 ASPCA Cornell Maddie's® Shelter Medicine conference at Cornell University. 

About Karen Basher 

Karen has practiced as a licensed veterinary technician since 1995, after she graduated State University of New York at Delhi.  She worked in general practice for four years before switching to a private referral specialty hospital in 1998. Karen was a surgery/anesthesia technician for two years and enjoyed studying and learning about high-risk anesthesia.  She transferred to academia at Cornell University Hospital for Animals Anesthesia Department in 2000.  She achieved her veterinary technician specialty exam in 2007 and has been giving anesthesia lectures since 2014.



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