Anesthesia in the News
  • No Link Between Prenatal Anesthesia and Impaired Development

    Author(s): By Dave Gilmartin

    A new study has found no link between antenatal exposure to anesthesia and impaired neurodevelopment in children.

    The analysis of more than 500 children ages 2 to 18 whose mothers underwent anesthesia during pregnancy found no indication of any clinical impairment, including control behavior, psychosocial problems, learning disorders or psychiatric diagnoses, according to the authors of the study in Anaesthesia, the journal of the Association of Anaesthetists.

    Although the US Food and Drug Administration, based on animal studies, warns that repeated or prolonged use of anesthesia in pregnant women during their third trimester may result in impairment for the child, as many as 1 percent of women require anesthesia for non-obstetric surgery.

    The study’s authors, from the University of Leuven in Belgium, note that the mothers in their analysis underwent anesthesia with modern drugs and techniques, making it relevant to clinicians.

    “While the results of our study do not change the recommendation that only urgent and essential surgical procedures should be performed during pregnancy, our findings can be used to provide reassurance to women who do require surgery during pregnancy,” they wrote, emphasizing that all of the procedures performed could not have been postponed until after delivery.

    Appendicitis, for example, can result in miscarriage or maternal sepsis.