The primary purpose of the GAS study, an international, multi-site, randomized controlled trial, is to investigate the long-term effects of two commonly used modes of anesthesia—spinal and general—and determine whether they result in equivalent neurodevelopment outcomes. Newborns undergoing hernia surgery are randomly assigned to receive general or spinal anesthesia. They then undergo developmental testing at age 2 and neurodevelopmental and intelligence testing at age 5 to determine whether there are neurocognitive differences between the groups. The study also aims to describe the incidence of apnea in the post-operative period after both regional and general anesthesia for inguinal hernia repair in infants. This study is important because inguinal hernia surgery is one of the most common surgeries done in infants and it will provide evidence for the safety or toxicity of general anesthesia for this group of patients. Researchers from Children’s Hospital Boston are collaborating with researchers from nine other centers in the United States, as well as centers in Canada, Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom, to collect data from 720 infants.
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