Preclinical evidence suggests that general anesthetics can dose dependently induce neurodegeneration in the developing brains of animals which can be reliably determined by measurement of blood S100β, but this correlation remains unclear in humans. We hypothesized that S100β would not be increased in cord arterial blood of fetuses exposed briefly to general anesthetics during a C-section, compared with epidural anesthesia.


A prospective observational clinical study comparatively measured changes of brain damage biomarker S100β ratio of umbilical artery over vein (changes after fetus circulation) immediately after delivery under C-section with either epidural or general anesthesia. Newborn blood gas measurements, APGAR scores, and maternal well-being were also compared.


Compared with epidural anesthesia, general anesthesia resulted in the lower S100β ratio of umbilical artery over the vein (medium 2.64 [quartiles 1.39, 3.45] vs. medium 1.59 [quartiles 0.88, 2.01], P = 0.031), without changing the S100β level in the vein of the mother. There was no significant difference between general and epidural anesthesia when comparing other maternal and newborn parameters.

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