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Anesthesia Spikes Risk of Child Development

Nicholas Wills4 years ago

Studies indicate children who have had anesthesia before 3 years old are at a higher risk of developmental issues later in life.

Australian Study

A new study done in Australia, published in the journal Pediatrics, shows that even a single use of anesthesia on children under 3 years old can affect development for the children later in life.

Details of the study:

  • Study was based on over 2,500 children in Australia
  • 321 of the children underwent surgical procedures that required anesthesia
  • The other 2,287 children were not exposed to the drug
  • Researchers tested the children at age 10.
  • Tests studied how well the children could think, learn, remember, reason, and use language. Behavior problems such as depression and aggression were also monitored.

Results of the Study

Kids who were given anesthesia before age 3:

  • Were more likely to have learning problems by age 10 than other children.
  • Were not able use language as well as their peers.
  • Had more trouble solving problems.
  • 1.87 times more likely to have listening comprehension issues
  • 1.72 times more likely to have problems with speaking
  • 1.69 times more likely to have abstract reasoning delays.
Advice to Parents 

The question of whether a child must undergo surgery is a difficult one at best. Dr. Lena S. Sun, M.D. told WebMD that parents shouldn't be scared. If children need surgery, Sun said, the risks and benefits should be weighed.

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