The ANZCA Trials Group recently announced the much anticipated results of the ENIGMA-II trial. Professor Paul Myles, Director of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine at Alfred Hospital and the Monash department of the same name within Central Clinical School, presented the results at the combined plenary session at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetist (ANZCA) ASM and Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) ASC on May 6, 2014. Verdict: Nitrous oxide is safe.
The trial included over 7,000 patients across 45 hospitals in 10 countries aimed to determine the safety of nitrous oxide as an anaesthetic, commonly known as laughing or happy gas. The study found that patients randomised to receive nitrous oxide as part of their anaesthetic regime were at no increased risk of suffering adverse events such as death or cardiac arrest than patients receiving another anaesthetic drug. The definitive results from this study has given the use of nitrous oxide the all clear, which is a cheap and accessible alternative to more expensive anaesthetics. The research has been accepted for publication in The Lancet. View video link with Paul Myles.