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Eye (Lond). 2007 Aug;21(8):1033-6. Epub 2006 Jul 28.

Variation in anaesthesia for the laser treatment of retinopathy of prematurity--a survey of ophthalmologists in the UK.

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Oxford Eye Hospital, Radcliffe Infirmary, Woodstock Road, Oxford, UK.



Laser treatment for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) may be associated with systemic stress for the infant. No national consensus on the optimum method of anaesthesia for the treatment of ROP currently exists. This study ascertains the anaesthetic practices employed for the treatment of ROP by ophthalmologists in the United Kingdom (UK), and also their attitudes towards these practices.


A postal questionnaire was sent to 46 consultant ophthalmologists identified as performing treatment for ROP in the UK. The consultants were asked to estimate the annual number of babies with ROP that they treated with laser, what methods of anaesthesia they employed, for comments regarding the arrangements for, and types of anaesthesia employed and whether they believed that the neonatal stress response to laser treatment was associated with a significant risk of systemic complications.


In all, 35 (76%) questionnaires were returned. A total of 30 (86%) respondents reported performing laser treatment for ROP. Of these, 15 (50%) used general anaesthesia for all cases and 11 (37%) intravenous sedation combined with topical anaesthesia for all cases. Oral sedation combined with topical anaesthesia, rectal chloral hydrate and paracetamol combined with topical anaesthesia, intravenous ketamine combined with topical anaesthesia, and subtenon's local anesthesia were used by one (3%) respondent each. There were no ophthalmologists using subconjunctival or topical anaesthetic alone or treating without anaesthesia.


This survey reveals considerable variation in practice among UK ophthalmologists regarding the anaesthetic methods employed in the treatment of ROP, and their beliefs regarding the systemic stress associated with treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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