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Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2006 Jun;19(3):262-7.

Complications in paediatric anaesthesia.

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Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, California 92354, USA.



This review identifies the most serious complications likely to be encountered in the current practice of paediatric anaesthesia.


The findings of the ASA Closed Claims Project, published in 1993, showed a higher proportion of closed paediatric malpractice claims related to respiratory events than to cardiovascular events. The Pediatric Perioperative Cardiac Arrest Registry--an offshoot of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Closed Claims Project--reviewed cardiac arrest data collected between 1994 and 1997, revealing a shift in the aetiology of cardiac arrest during paediatric anaesthesia over the past 20 years. The study found that reported cardiac arrests were now more prevalent from cardiovascular causes than respiratory causes, unlike the findings in the previous Closed Claims Project. Follow-up data collected by both the Pediatric Perioperative Cardiac Arrest Registry and the American Society of Anesthesiologists Closed Claims Project confirm this trend.


Outcomes for paediatric patients undergoing anaesthesia have improved over the years as a result of advances in monitoring and equipment, safer and more easily titratable anaesthetic agents, and possibly the practice of subspecialization. Preventable complications still, however, occur. An awareness of frequently encountered complications during paediatric anaesthesia may lead to the earlier detection and treatment of perioperative problems, leading to better outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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