Preclinical strategies targeting sepsis often had a single target and could not be translated into the clinical setting. Volatile sedation modulates multiple aspects of inflammation and improves sepsis-related survival in animal models. Whether a similar effect can be achieved in humans is unclear. Only a prospective clinical trial will be able to answer this question. The implementation of such a study in times when volatile anaesthetics are the focus of attention because of their greenhouse effect and their carbon dioxide emission will be a challenge, even though the alternative, i.v. sedation, is still insufficiently investigated in this respect.