Paediatr Anaesth, October 2013.
Hansen TG, Pedersen JK, Henneberg SW, Morton NS, Christensen K.


BACKGROUND: Immature animals exposed to anesthetics display apoptotic neurodegeneration with subsequent long-term cognitive dysfunctions. Young age at anesthetic exposure is believed to be critical, but human studies are scarce. This study investigated the association between exposure to surgery and anesthesia for pyloric stenosis (PS) before 3 months of age and subsequent educational outcome in adolescence.

METHODS: This nationwide unselected register-based follow-up study of the Danish birth cohorts 1986-1990 compared the educational outcome of all children having undergone surgery for PS before 3 months of age with a randomly selected, age-matched 5% sample of the same cohort. Primary analysis compared the average test scores at ninth grade adjusting for gender, birth weight, and parental age and education. Secondary analysis compared the proportions not attaining the test scores between the two groups.

RESULTS: The exposure group comprised 779 and the control group consisted of 14 665 individuals. Although the exposure group performed lower than the control group (average score 0.17 lower, 95% CI: 0.08-0.25), after adjusting for known confounders, no statistically significant difference (-0.04, 95% CI: -0.09 to 0.08) between the 2 groups could be demonstrated. However, we found an odds ratio (OR) for test score nonattainment-associated PS repair of 1.37 (95% CI: 1.11-1.68).

CONCLUSION: Children operated for PS before 3 months of age have educational performance tests similar to the background population at age 15-16 years after adjusting for known confounders. The higher nonattainment rate could suggest that a subgroup of PS children is developmentally disadvantaged.

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