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Regional Anesthesia May Be Best in Infant Hernia Surgeries

Less likely to suffer from apnea following hernia surgery, compared with general anesthesia

WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Infants undergoing herniorrhaphy may fare better with use of awake regional anesthesia (RA) over general anesthesia (GA), according to research published online May 14 in Anesthesiology.

Andrew Davidson, M.D., of the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, compared rates of apnea after RA or GA among 722 infants and found little evidence for a difference in late apnea. There was evidence, however, that RA reduced the risk of significant apnea in the first 30 minutes after surgery.

Geoff Frawley, M.D., also of the Royal Children's Hospital, examined 339 patients undergoing RA to determine factors affecting the failure or success of the anesthetic technique. RA was sufficient for completion of surgery in 83.2 percent of patients. Conversion to GA was seen in 34 patients, and an additional 23 patients required brief sedation.

"Every year millions of children require surgery in their first year of life," Frawley said in a news release from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. "We aimed to establish which factors are associated with better outcomes when infant spinal anesthesia is used. We found that there is a steep learning curve among anesthesia providers for infant spinal anesthesia, but learning the technique could have a far-reaching impact for infants undergoing surgery."

Full Text - Davidson (subscription or payment may be required)
Full Text - Frawley (subscription or payment may be required)

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