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Anesth Analg. 2008 Aug;107(2):422-7. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e31817e6d7c.

Pediatric mastocytosis: routine anesthetic management for a complex disease.

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Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Dr. MSC 1881, Bldg 10 Room 11C-213, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Pediatric mastocytosis consists of a spectrum of clinical variants characterized by increased numbers of resident mast cells in various organ systems. Mast cells are instrumental in mediating anaphylaxis and patients with mastocytosis are at risk to develop provoked and unprovoked episodes of anaphylaxis.


We examined perianesthetic records of patients with pediatric mastocytosis who were anesthetized for diagnostic and surgical procedures from 1993 to 2006. In addition, we conducted a literature review of the anesthetic experience in pediatric mastocytosis.


Twenty-two patients with pediatric mastocytosis, with a median age of 3.2 yr (range, 6 mo-20 yr) at the time of the procedure, were anesthetized for 29 diagnostic and surgical procedures. All variants of the disease are represented in this series. Most patients had a history of flushing, pruritus, gastro-esophageal reflux diseases, and abdominal pain; one patient had a history of spontaneous anaphylaxis. Routine anesthetic techniques were used and, despite the complexity of the disease, the perioperative courses were uncomplicated and without serious adverse events.


We reviewed the main features of pediatric mastocytosis, its anesthetic and perioperative implications, and describe a practical approach to the anesthetic management of pediatric patients with the disease. Although many drugs used routinely in anesthesia reportedly caused mast cell degranulation, deviations from routine anesthesia techniques are not necessarily warranted. However, an understanding of the anesthetic implications of the disease and meticulous preparation to treat possible adverse events are advised.

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