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Anesth Analg. 1991 Sep;73(3):266-70.

Emergence airway complications in children: a comparison of tracheal extubation in awake and deeply anesthetized patients.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC 20010.


We compared the differences in oxygen saturation and airway-related complications after tracheal extubation in pediatric patients undergoing elective strabismus surgery or adenoidectomy and/or tonsillectomy who were awake versus anesthetized. Seventy otherwise healthy patients between 2 and 8 yr of age were studied. Anesthesia was induced with halothane or thiamylal and maintained with nitrous oxide and halothane. After induction of anesthesia, the patients were randomly assigned to group 1 (awake extubation) or group 2 (anesthetized extubation). Oxygen saturation was measured continuously and recorded 10 min before extubation and at 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min after tracheal extubation. Supplemental oxygen was administered when oxygen saturation values were less than 90% while breathing room air. Oxygen saturation levels were higher in group 2 than in group 1 at 1, 2, 3, and 5 min after extubation. There were no differences between the two groups in the number of patients requiring supplemental oxygen. The incidence of airway-related complications such as laryngospasm, croup, sore throat, excessive coughing, and arrhythmias was not different between the two groups. We conclude that the anesthesiologist's preference or surgical requirements may dictate the choice of extubation technique in otherwise healthy children undergoing elective surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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