The Safetots.org initiative addresses the teaching, training, education and supervision of the safe conduct of pediatric anesthesia.
Fear that general anesthesia damages the developing brain
An overwhelming angst of anesthesia-related neurotoxicity in small children has gripped the pediatric anesthetic community over the past decade. This culminated in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) communication that exposure to general anesthetic agents for lengthy periods of time or over multiple surgeries or procedures may not be safe and may negatively affect brain development in children younger than 3 years. 1 2 3
Research Focus: Anesthetic Agent induced Neurotoxicity
Considerable financial and personal resources have been and are currently still invested into this research. This includes laboratory, animal experimental as well as retro- and prospective human studies. Initial results in humans are now available and continuously updated and summarized by the FDA endorsed SmartTots initiative.
Safe Conduct of Anesthesia matters
No definite causal link between certain anesthetic drugs or techniques and poor neurological outcome in children has been established to date.4 5 6 7 However, there is a documented relationship between the conduct of anesthesia and catastrophic neurological outcome or even mortality in small children. 8
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