July 20, 2021

Anesthetic complications in children with COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study by researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern and Children’s Health, Dallas, finds that children with nonsevere COVID-19 had higher rates of respiratory complications during and after general anesthesia than controls, but severe morbidity was rare and there were no deaths.

A total of 99 patients were in the COVID-19 negative cohort, and 51 patients were in the COVID-19 positive cohort.


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Positive COVID-19 patients had a higher incidence of respiratory complications (11.8% vs 1.0%) and any complications (13.7% vs 3.0%), compared to the control group. However, no child from either cohort had postoperative pneumonia or ARDS, and no child with COVID-19 required noninvasive or invasive ventilatory support at postoperative day 7.

In addition, there was no statistical difference between groups for nonrespiratory complications or length of stay, and there were no mortalities.

The incidence of complications was similar to previously published rates of intra- and postanesthetic complications in children with upper respiratory tract infections, the authors note.

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