General anesthesia for hernia surgery in children and risk of later developmental problems

Nov 07, 2008

Children under the age of three who had hernia surgery showed almost twice the risk of behavioral or developmental problems later compared to children who had not undergone the surgery, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The study included 383 children who were born into the New York State Medicaid system between 1999 and 2001 who had surgery performed under general anesthesia to repair a groin hernia.

The researchers compared this group of children to 5,050 randomly selected, age-matched children in the Medicaid system, and found that five percent of the children exposed to anesthesia and 1.5 percent of the children in the control group were eventually diagnosed with a developmental or behavioral disorder. After adjusting for age, gender, race and such complicating birth diagnoses as low weight, the association between hernia surgery under general anesthesia and behavioral diagnoses was twice that in children who did not have surgery.

"We suspect that children who had hernia surgery and its associated exposure to general anesthesia during these operations might have played a role in the jump in risk," according to Charles DiMaggio, PhD, assistant professor of clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and lead author. "While there is no hard evidence that there is any causal association between anesthesia and developmental outcomes in children, research in animal models indicates that there may be some association between the types of anesthesia commonly used and neuronal or brain cell-level injury," said Dr. DiMaggio. "The early concern is, could these data be extrapolated to humans?"

According to Dr. DiMaggio, while the current study found an association between anesthesia use and neurodevelopmental problems, these are still preliminary findings, and not a reason to keep children from needed surgery. "This underscores the urgent need for more rigorous clinical research on the long-term effects of surgery and anesthesia in children," says Dr. DiMaggio.

Source: Columbia University

Explore further: Haiti cholera outbreak kills 132 in 2014

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Algorithm, not live committee, performs author ranking

1 hour ago

Thousands of authors' works enter the public domain each year, but only a small number of them end up being widely available. So how to choose the ones taking center-stage? And how well can a machine-learning ...

Senators get no clear answers on air bag safety

12 hours ago

There were apologies and long-winded explanations, but after nearly four hours of testimony about exploding air bags, senators never got a clear answer to the question most people have: whether or not their ...

Nicaragua: Studies say canal impact to be minimal

12 hours ago

Officials said Thursday that studies have determined a $40 billion inter-oceanic canal across Nicaragua will have minimal impact on the environment and society, and construction is to begin next month.

Recommended for you

Ebola vaccine promising in first human trials

1 hour ago

Researchers say they are one step closer to developing a viable Ebola vaccine, with a Phase 1 trial showing promising results, but it will still be months at least before it could be used in the field.

At one month, US Ebola monitors finding no cases

3 hours ago

The U.S. program that requires weeks of monitoring for travelers from African countries with Ebola reaches the one-month mark Thursday. And so far, no cases of the disease have turned up.

EU calls for 5,000 doctors to fight Ebola

4 hours ago

The European Commission called for 5,000 doctors to be sent from EU states to combat west Africa's Ebola epidemic, a European source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.