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Advances in Anesthesia Helps Little Ones

Oct 21, 2013

By Felicia Papier

If you have ever had a trip to the dentist that involved more than a cleaning, the first thing you probably said was, “You better put me under for that!”  Just the thought of some dental procedures makes many people want to have anesthesia administered before they even hit the chair.  The reality is that any procedure where anesthesia is given is major and the aftermath can be… interesting.

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In a study done this summer at the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers discovered new techniques used in administering anesthetics can decrease emergence delirium and agitation (EDA).  EDA is prevalent in younger children when they wake up from a dental surgery.  Emergence delirium is defined as a dissociated state of consciousness in which the child is inconsolable, irritable, uncompromising or uncooperative, typically thrashing, crying, moaning, or incoherent. 

Anesthesia can be administered in three different forms: ingested in pill form, as an intravenous injection and as an inhalant.  In September, we reported on a new form of anesthesia for an adult which is administered through the nasal passage.  But for small children, anesthesia is generally administered by inhalation using sevoflurane.  Research lead, Dr. Zakaria Messieha, who is a professor at the University, found the incidence of EDA was as high as 58 percent in children given this type of anesthetic for dental procedures.  The effects of EDA often create an increased risk of injury to the patient as well as an increased dissatisfaction with the procedure and the dentist by the parents of the patient. 

After testing the technique in over 300 surgeries, the study concluded that when a bi-spectral index-guided anesthesia (sevoflurane) is combined with propofol, anxious and agitated behavior post surgery is curbed in 90 percent of the cases.  Propofol is a short-acting drug which is administered 30 minutes before the procedure’s end.  With this technique, the child wakes in a much calmer state and is able to communicate about the outcome of the surgery.  This technique is cost effective and simple to administer.

Slight delirium is actually common for adults after waking from dental procedures where anesthesia is involved.  We are most familiar with this phenomenon occurring to people who have had their wisdom teeth extracted.  Fortunately, there is not a large concern with the aftermath in adult patients and it provides pretty humorous material for family and friends later.  While there are plenty of YouTube videos about the subject, this is one of our favorites.  Happy Monday!

Sources: American Dental Association, Dental Tribune, YouTube, Wikipedia

Copyright 2013 Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC© 

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