Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 401, Issue 7, pp 2063–2067 | Cite as

Time course of ethanol and propofol exhalation after bolus injection using ion molecule reaction–mass spectrometry

  • Martin GrossherrEmail author
  • Balamurugan Varadarajan
  • Leif Dibbelt
  • Peter Schmucker
  • Hartmut Gehring
  • Andreas Hengstenberg
Original Paper


The transit of ethanol from blood to breath gas is well characterised. It is used for intraoperative monitoring and in forensic investigations. A further substance, which can be measured in breath gas, is the phenol propofol. After a simultaneous bolus injection, the signals (time course and amplitude) of ethanol and propofol in breath gas were detected by ion molecule reaction–mass spectrometry (IMR-MS) and compared. After approval by the regional authorities, eight pigs were endotracheally intubated after a propofol-free induction with etomidate. Boluses of ethanol (16 μg/kg) and propofol (4 or 2 mg/kg) were infused alone and in combination. For both substances, breath gas concentrations were continuously measured by IMR-MS; the delay time, time to peak and amplitude were determined and compared using non-parametric statistic tests. IMR-MS allows a simultaneous continuous measurement of both substances in breath gas. Ethanol appeared (median delay time, 12 vs 29.5 s) and reached its peak concentration (median time to peak, 45.5 vs 112 s) significantly earlier than propofol. Time courses of ethanol and propofol in breath gas can be simultaneously described with IMR-MS. Differing pharmacological and physicochemical properties of the two substances can explain the earlier appearance and time to peak of ethanol in breath gas compared with propofol.


Chemical sensors Drug monitoring/drug screening Gas sensors Clinical/biomedical analysis Mass spectrometry/ICP-MS 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Grossherr
    • 1
    Email author
  • Balamurugan Varadarajan
    • 3
  • Leif Dibbelt
    • 2
  • Peter Schmucker
    • 1
  • Hartmut Gehring
    • 1
  • Andreas Hengstenberg
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AnaesthesiologyUniversity of LuebeckLuebeckGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical ChemistryUniversity of LuebeckLuebeckGermany
  3. 3.Technical Natural Science University of LuebeckLuebeckGermany
  4. 4.Research UnitDraegerwerk AG & Co. KGaA, LuebeckLuebeckGermany

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