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Xenon is a “noble” gas that has long been known to have anesthetic properties. It is an inert element that does not form chemical bonds. Xenon is scavenged from the atmosphere through a costly distillation process. It is an odorless, nonexplosive, naturally occurring gas with a MAC of .71 and a blood/gas coefficient of 0.115, giving it very fast onset and emergence parameters. As previously mentioned, xenon’s anesthetic effects seem to be mediated by NMDA inhibition by competing with glycine at the glycine binding site. Xenon seems to have little effect on cardiovascular, hepatic, or renal systems and has been found to be protective against neuronal isch-emia. As a natural element, it has no effect upon the ozone layer compared with another NMDA antago-nist, nitrous oxide. Cost and limited availability have prevented its widespread use.
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