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Anaesthesia. 2000 Jan;55(1):32-41.

Anaesthesia and pain management in cerebral palsy.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Royal Children's Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


Cerebral palsy is the result of an injury to the developing brain during the antenatal, perinatal or postnatal period. Clinical manifestations relate to the area affected. Some of the conditions associated with cerebral palsy require surgical intervention. Problems during the peri-operative period may include hypothermia, nausea and vomiting and muscle spasm. Peri-operative seizure control, respiratory function and gastro-oesophageal reflux also require consideration. Intellectual disability is common and, in those affected, may range from mild to severe. These children should be handled with sensitivity as communication disorders and sensory deficits may mask mild or normal intellect. They should be accompanied by their carers at induction and in the recovery room as they usually know how best to communicate with them. Postoperative pain management and the prevention of muscle spasm is important and some of the drugs used in the management of spasm such as baclofen and botulinum toxin are discussed. Epidural analgesia is particularly valuable when major orthopaedic procedures are performed.

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