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Green Anaesthesia

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Making anaesthesia environmentally sustainable

4.4 % of global greenhouse gases are caused by the health sector.1 And of the total emissions of hospitals, 2 % are due to volatile anaesthetics.2 That doesn't sound too much at first. However, with 10,000 anaesthesia cases per year and an average use of volatile anaesthetics, the annual CO2 footprint of these is equivalent to that of 200 average German citizens. 3

With the "Inhaled Anesthetic 2020 Challenge", the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is calling for a 50 % reduction in carbon emissions from anaesthetics. The DGAI and the BDA are also addressing the issue. Together they have published a position paper with concrete recommendations for action. 

Sources

  1. The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Policy Brief for Germany.
  2. NHS Sustainable Development Unit.
  3. Schuster et. Al (2020); A&I.

Implement low flow anaesthesia safely

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One of the central points for saving volatile anaesthetics is the consistent implementation of low- or minimal-flow anaesthesia. The advantages are clear and not only ecological:

  • Reduction of greenhouse gases
  • Cost reduction
  • Improving clinical outcomes

Information on the clinical background and use of low-flow anaesthesia can be found on the following website.

Rebreathing systems in anaesthesia

Clinical practice shows that the use of low- and minimal-flow anaesthesia can be safely and easily integrated into daily routine. "The safety and technical performance of today's anaesthesia machines make low-flow, minimal-flow and metabolic-flow anaesthesia the procedures of choice". This is the conclusion of Bert Mierke, MD, and PD Christian Hönemann, MD, convinced low-flow advocates and authors of the booklet "Low-Flow, Minimal-Flow and Metabolic-Flow Anaesthesias - Clinical Techniques for the Use of Rebreather Systems".

This booklet contains further information and practical tips for the safe use of low flow anaesthesia.

Low-flow, minimal-flow and metabolic-flow anaesthesia: clinical techniques for the use of rebreathing systems
Schematic procedure of minimal flow anaesthesia

How do we support you?

As your specialist in acute care, we provide holistic support in the implementation of environmentally conscious anaesthesia - from modern anaesthesia equipment for the implementation of safe low-flow anaesthesia to analysis software for comprehensive analysis of gas consumption and decision support in the procurement of consumables.

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Our anaesthesia machines support you with advanced technology, e.g. permanently high tightness of the breathing systems, intelligent humidity management, adequate gas and ventilation monitoring, sample gas return, as well as support in the efficient control of anaesthesia through assistance systems such as SmartPilot® View.

Green Anaesthesia - "Closed System" with Zeus IE

Dr Timur Özelsel, an anaesthetist and Deputy Head of the Expert Group on Environmental Sustainability in the Canadian Society of Anaesthesia (CAS-ES), explains how efficiently he can work with the Dräger Zeus IE using quantitative anaesthesia. Here, only as much volatile anaesthetic is consumed in the auto-dose as the patient takes in. This results in minimal greenhouse gas emissions from volatile anaesthetics and maximum cost savings.

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Gas consumption analysis

The Gas Consumption Analytics dashboard enables clinical and economic insights based on the gas consumption of the supported Draeger anaesthesia machines. Create transparency regarding uptake, efficiency, costs and applied fresh gas flows: This provides you with a reliable basis for defining measures for the consistent implementation of low- and minimal-flow anaesthesia and thus to work in a more environmentally and patient-friendly way while reducing costs at the same time. Find out, for example, how the Florence Nightingale Hospital in Düsseldorf was able to reduce the average costs of an anaesthesia per minute by 14.29 % through a targeted reduction of the fresh gas flow.

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In many cases, reusable products are perceived as less harmful to the environment than single-use products. However, it is not that easy to say. Whether disposable or reusable products are more environmentally friendly can often only be evaluated through extensive eco-efficiency analyses. In hospitals in particular, the reprocessing of medical products, for example, can have a major impact on the CO2 footprint. Aspects such as the eutrophication of soils and water bodies and the use of rare materials also play an important role in the holistic view.

Valid information is therefore needed to make a valid decision. This is where the eco-efficiency analyses help. Especially for products that are used in large quantities in hospitals, the ecological aspects should be taken into account in the procurement process.

Recycling and waste management examples

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Our medical technology requires high-performance materials. We get the best out of the waste, dispose of what cannot be recycled and comply with the applicable regulations. We support disposal with recycling passes as well as material lists, sketches and dismantling recommendations in accordance with WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equiment).
Please also read our press article „Almost everything that glitters is gold".

(Available only in Germany)

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Since 2015, soda lime has been considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of separately from the corresponding containers. Dräger waste management takes care of this separation. You collect the used cartridges in recycling bins and we take care of the professional handling. Compared to incineration as hospital waste, around 600 g CO2 can be saved per absorber if the lime is disposed of properly.

(Available only in Germany)

Green Hospital

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Sustainability in the hospital

Hospitals are considered to play a key role in achieving national climate targets. With the emission of 4.4% of global greenhouse gases such as CO2, the health sector is above the emissions of air traffic and shipping.1, 2 In addition, 300-600 litres of water per bed/patient are consumed in a German hospital per day.3

Service providers and industry partners are accordingly asking themselves how hospitals can be operated more sustainably. To answer this, it is important to identify the sources of CO2 emissions in hospitals.

Get in touch with Dräger

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Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA

Branch Office
P.O. Box 505108
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

+971 4 42 94 600

F: +971 4 42 94 699

Not all products, features, or services are for sale in all countries. Please contact your local Dräger representative for more information.

1 Health Care Without Harm in collaboration with Arup, 2019.

2 Climate Watch, the World Resources Institute, 2020.

3 Bayrisches Staatsministerium, Debatin, Klinergie 2020, Medica.