Children under age 5 having minor surgery with anesthesia have a small but statistically significant increased risk of a mental disorder, developmental delays, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this study finds.
A total of 38,493 children with a single exposure to anesthesia before age 5 and 192,465 unexposed children were included in the analysis.
The timing of the procedure did not alter the elevated risks, meaning a minor procedure shouldn’t be delayed to reduce neurodevelopmental risks. However, the types of procedures may need to be considered because some procedures are associated with specific comorbid conditions and are only performed at certain ages, the authors say.
The study was performed using a longitudinal dataset constructed by linking individual-level Medicaid claims from Texas and New York from 1999 to 2010.