Children with mitochondrial disease undergo anesthesia for a wide array of surgical procedures. However, multiple medications used for their perioperative care can affect mitochondrial function. Defects in function of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) can lead to a profound hypersensitivity to sevoflurane in children. We studied the sensitivities to sevoflurane, during mask induction and maintenance of general anesthesia, in children presenting for muscle biopsies for diagnosis of mitochondrial disease.
In this multicenter study, 91 children, aged 6 months to 16 years, presented to the operating room for diagnostic muscle biopsy for presumptive mitochondrial disease. General anesthesia was induced by a slow increase of inhaled sevoflurane concentration. The primary end point, end-tidal (ET) sevoflurane necessary to achieve a bispectral index (BIS) of 60, was recorded. Secondary end points were maximal sevoflurane used to maintain a BIS between 40 and 60 during the case, and maximum and minimum heart rate and blood pressures. After induction, general anesthesia was maintained according to the preferences of the providers directing the cases. Primary data were analyzed comparing data from patients with complex I deficiencies to other groups using nonparametric statistics in SPSS v.27.
The median sevoflurane concentration to reach BIS of 60 during inductions (ET sevoflurane % [BIS = 60]) was significantly lower for patients with complex I defects (0.98%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.5-1.4) compared to complex II (1.95%; 95% CI, 1.2-2.7; P < .001), complex III (2.0%; 95% CI, 0.7-3.5; P < .001), complex IV (2.0%; 95% CI, 1.7-3.2; P < .001), and normal groups (2.2%; 95% CI, 1.8-3.0; P < .001). The sevoflurane sensitivities of complex I patients did not reach significance when compared to patients diagnosed with mitochondrial disease but without an identifiable ETC abnormality (P = .172). Correlation of complex I activity with ET sevoflurane % (BIS = 60) gave a Spearman’s coefficient of 0.505 (P < .001). The differences in sensitivities between groups were less during the maintenance of the anesthetic than during induction.
The data indicate that patients with complex I dysfunction are hypersensitive to sevoflurane compared to normal patients. Hypersensitivity was less common in patients presenting with other mitochondrial defects or without a mitochondrial diagnosis.