Avoiding Post-surgical Agitation in Kids

AUGUSTA, Ga., Oct. 11 (UPI) — Agitation after surgery affects as many as half of the children who have been anesthetized but it may be prevented, a U.S. pediatric anesthesiologist says.

Dr. Ivan Florentino of the Medical College of Georgia suggests combativeness after surgery may be prevented by using drugs to decrease epinephrine production.

“Some children wake up after surgery and begin crying and become combative,” Florentino says in a statement. “They are often extremely frightened, disoriented and refuse to be comforted, even after being reunited with their parents. Some even hallucinate and become so agitated that they have to be restrained.”

Florentino noted preschool-age children and those with behavioral problems and developmental delays are more prone to the condition — known as emergence delirium — because their sympathetic nervous system is often already hyperactive.

“Some types of anesthesia increase the release of the stress hormone norepinephrine in the brain,” he says.

This prompts the sympathetic nervous system reaction of “fight-or-flight.”

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