Neutrophil chemotaxis during and after general anesthesia and operation

T. H. Stanley, G. E. Hill, M. R. Portas, N. A. Hogan, H. R. Hill

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63 Scopus citations


The neutrophil granulocytes of 43 patients undergoing general anesthesia and operation were examined to determine if altered function occurs during these procedures. Neutrophil chemotaxis, random migration, and total and differential leukocyte counts were determined immediately before anesthesia; after 35 to 60 min of anesthesia but before operation; 60 min after initiation of operation; and 60 min after operation. Anesthetic agents included 1 to 3.5% enflurane, 0.5 to 2% halothane, or 0.5 to 1.1 mg/kg of morphine plus N 2O O 2 (60:40). Neutrophil and total white blood cell counts were uninfluenced by any of the anesthetics; however, marked rises in both occurred during operation and persisted postoperatively after each of the anesthetic technics. Neutrophil chemotaxis was reduced an average of 36, 32, and 21% respectively, by halothane, enflurane, and morphine before operation and 20, 10, and 5% intraoperatively. Preoperative reductions in chemotaxis were statistically significant after all anesthetics. However, only halothane produced a significant intraoperative reduction in chemotaxis. Postoperative neutrophil chemotaxis did not differ from control (preanesthesia) values after any of the anesthetics. Halothane and enflurane reduced leukocytic random migration before but not after operation. Morphine had no effect on random migration at any time. These data demonstrate that anesthesia impairs neutrophil function in man but that operation appears to reverse this depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-673
Number of pages6
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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