For decades, the question of neonatal anesthetic toxicity has variably met with passionate concern, perplexity, or indifference among the anesthesia practitioner and investigator communities. What began as a laboratory observation and academic curiosity of unknown clinical relevance, leading to clinical research and clinical concern, was elevated to a real clinical predicament by an unexpected 2016 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety Announcement declaring 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,” with admonitions to healthcare professionals, parents, pregnant women, and caregivers. This was followed in 2017 by FDA–approved formalized changes to several drug labels to memorialize this warning. The aftermath has seen heightened consternation and confusion, with variable response among parents, practitioners, regulators, anesthesiology societies, healthcare institutions, and their risk managers, as well as changes (or not) in informed consent, and several position statements and commentaries. Having allowed this initial flurry to subside, Anesthesiology this month features two comprehensive review articles and accompanying editorials on anesthetic developmental neurotoxicity in animals and in humans.
- 2021 SmartTots Panels
- Detrimental effects of general anaesthesia on young primates: are we closer to understanding the link?
- General anaesthesia during infancy reduces white matter micro-organisation in developing rhesus monkeys British Journal of Anaesthesia
- A synthetic peptide rescues rat cortical neurons from anesthetic-induced cell death, perturbation of growth and synaptic assembly
- The Effects of Hesperidin on Neuronal Apoptosis and Cognitive Impairment in the Sevoflurane Anesthetized Rat are Mediated Through the PI3/Akt/PTEN and Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB) Signaling Pathways