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Parental perception on the effects of early exposure to anaesthesia on neurodevelopment - 17/1/2019

Anaesthesia 2019; 74: 51-6

Introduction and methods

Studies on the effects of general anaesthesia on neurodevelopment in children have had conflicting results. The potential for early general anaesthesia exposure to affect neurodevelopment in children may cause significant concern for parents. These authors administered a questionnaire to 200 parents, to explore their knowledge, concerns and perceptions, and determine factors which influence parents' willingness for their children to participate in relevant research studies.



A large proportion of parents (40%) were concerned that general anaesthesia may affect their child's neurodevelopment. Generally, these concerns arose from the parents' own beliefs or preconceived ideas, and only 25.5% had encountered prior information in this domain. Parents with children aged 2 years or younger, those whose children had previous general anaesthesia exposure, and those who had encountered information about potential neurodevelopmental effects were most likely to be concerned. Most parents (68%) said that they would agree to participate in research studies, especially if they were able to receive the test results.



The authors conclude that anaesthetists should pre-emptively initiate discussions to address any potential misconceptions about the effects of general anaesthesia on neurodevelopment in children.

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