Anaesthesia is unlikely to have lasting effects on developing brains | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 24, 2019

Anaesthesia is unlikely to have lasting effects on developing brains

A single hour of general anaesthesia in early infancy — longer than is necessary to perform the most common types of minor surgeries in childhood — does not result in measurable neurodevelopmental or behavioural problems up to the age of 5 years, according to the first randomised trial of its kind involving 722 infants in seven countries, published in The Lancet.

The trial provides the strongest evidence to date that one brief exposure to anaesthesia is safe in young children. Nevertheless, the authors caution that most (84%) study participants were male and more research is needed to confirm the findings in girls and children with multiple and prolonged exposure to anaesthesia.

“Nearly half the general anaesthetics given to infants are used for less than one hour, therefore our findings should reassure health professionals and the millions of parents whose young children undergo surgical or diagnostic procedures with anaesthetic drugs worldwide every year,” says Professor Andrew Davidson, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia, who led the study.

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