Newswise — New research published in The Lancet confirms previous studies showing that one brief exposure to general anesthesia in young children is unlikely to be harmful to long-term neurodevelopment. According to researchers, this is the most rigorous clinical trial on the topic to date. 

Experts from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) available to discuss the findings include:

  • ASA member and co-principal investigator of the study Mary Ellen McCann M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital
  • ASA President Linda Mason, M.D., FASA, pediatric physician anesthesiologist, can offer her perspective as an expert not involved in the study and discuss ways that both parents and children can prepare for surgery, including the most common questions parents have about anesthesia safety

Experts at ASA have contributed to the ongoing body of research on anesthesia and children and say that a single, relatively short exposure to anesthesia and surgery is considered safe. And most common surgeries in children require anesthesia for less than two hours.

ASA is committed to advancing research regarding this issue. Through the SmartTots program, ASA partners with the International Anesthesia Research Society and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support research funding to investigate the safety of anesthesia for infants and young children.

Additional information from ASA on children and anesthesia is available here.