Over the past decade, a large body of evidence has suggested that there may be an association between anesthesia exposure and neurocognitive deficits in children. The majority of data are derived from animal studies, but some human studies support an association between single or multiple anesthesia exposures in young children and cognitive deficits.1 With the exception of a recent prospective study and a recent ambidirectional study,2,3 human studies are limited to retrospective cohort studies that lack adequate controls or attention to the impact of confounding variables. On December 14, 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the warning that “repeated or lengthy use of general anesthetic and sedation drugs during surgeries or procedures in children younger than 3 years or in pregnant women during their third trimester may affect the development of children’s brains.
- When Your Child Needs Surgery, Don’t Fear Anesthesia, Says American Society of Anesthesiologists
- Neurotoxicity of Inhalation Anesthetics in the Neonatal Rat Brain: Effects on Behavior and Neurodegeneration in the Piriform Cortex.
- Does pediatric anesthesia cause brain damage? Addressing parental and provider concerns in light of compelling animal studies and seemingly ambivalent human data.
- The postoperative effect of sevoflurane inhalational anesthesia on cognitive function and inflammatory response of pediatric patients.
- General anesthetics and cytotoxicity: possible implications for brain health.