Reducing the Carbon Footprint of the Anesthesia Provider


  • Levi Scott McGowan CRNA



Background: Modern anesthesia contributes to environmental pollution with some anesthetics creating a larger carbon footprint.  Therefore, the selection among contemporary anesthetics can have a direct impact on the carbon footprint created by the anesthesia provider. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) provided over 45 million anesthetics in 2018, and practice changes could dramatically reduce the carbon footprint.  Purpose:  Provide education to CRNAs about concrete measures which reduce the carbon footprint of anesthesia care and provide multiple secondary benefits.  Methods:  A presentation was given to participating Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) on carbon footprint reducing anesthesia techniques.  CRNAs who participated completed a twenty question post-educational survey about carbon footprint reduction.  Results:  The data collected from a convenience sample (N=10) showed a marked improvement in the knowledge related to techniques to reduce the carbon footprint of the anesthesia provider.  The survey revealed that the participants found the educational session added valuable information to the educational training of the CRNA.  Conclusions and Recommendations:  The results showed that when given additional education about environmentally cleaner anesthetics, the clinicians became more aware of safer and greener alternatives for anesthetic use.  The reduced carbon footprint anesthetic is not only better environmentally but is also safer and leads to improved patient satisfaction by reducing postoperative nausea and vomiting.  The lowered carbon footprint anesthetics can also reduce pharmacological costs.  Therefore, a multitude of benefits will occur including financial, environmental, and patient quality outcomes when utilizing the reduced carbon footprint anesthetic techniques.  

Key Words:  Carbon Footprint, Anesthesia, Greenhouse Gases, Global Warming