The effects of surgery, anesthetic agents, and/or intraoperative blood loss on the immune system were studied by comparing the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative peripheral blood lymphocyte blastogenic responses to mitogens and antigens. All anesthetic agents were associated with some degree of immunosuppression, but some were differentially suppressive of either the T-cell or B-cell subpopulation of the peripheral blood lymphocytes. A greater depression of blastogenic responses was associated with ether than with halothane, and the B-cell responses seemed more selectively affected by ether. Cyclopropane anesthesia was more depressive than nitrous oxide, and both T- and B-cells were equally affected. The volume of blood lost during surgery was also correlated with the degree of immunosuppression. This anesthesia and surgery-associated immunosuppression persisted for at least 7 days.
ASJC Scopus subject areas