Use of spinal anesthesia (SA) in children may address concerns about potential neurocognitive effects of general anesthesia. We used near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to assess the effects of SA on cerebral and tissue oxygenation in 19 patients aged 7 ± 3 months. Prior to SA placement, NIRS monitors were placed on the forehead (cerebral) and the thigh (tissue). Intraoperative cerebral and tissue saturation were 73 ± 7 and 80 ± 11%, respectively, before SA placement. NIRS measurements were monitored every minute for 30 min after SA placement and modeled using mixed-effects linear regression. Regression estimates showed that cerebral saturation remained stable from 67% [95% confidence interval (CI) 63, 71%] after SA placement to 68% (95% CI 65, 72%) at the conclusion of monitoring. After SA placement, tissue saturation was elevated compared to baseline values; but further change [from 91% (95% CI 89, 93%) to 93% (95% CI 91, 95%) at the end of monitoring] was clinically non-significant. All patients breathed spontaneously on room air without changes in oxygen saturation. Blood pressure and heart rate decreased after SA placement, but no changes in hemodynamic parameters required treatment. These data provide further evidence of the neutral effect of SA on cerebral oxygenation 30 min after block placement.

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