Postoperative Behavioral Outcomes in Children: Effects of Sedative Premedication


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Abstract

BackgroundAlthough multiple studies document the effect of sedative premedication on preoperative anxiety in children, there is a paucity of data regarding its effect on postoperative behavioral outcomes.MethodsAfter screening for recent stressful life events, children undergoing anesthesia and surgery were assigned randomly to receive either 0.5 mg/kg midazolam in 15 mg/kg acetaminophen orally (n = 43) or 15 mg/kg acetaminophen orally (n = 43). Using validated measures of anxiety, children were evaluated before and after administration of the intervention and during induction of anesthesia. On postoperative days 1, 2, 3, 7, and 14, the behavioral recovery of the children was assessed using the Post Hospitalization Behavior Questionnaire.ResultsThe intervention group demonstrated significantly lower anxiety levels compared with the placebo group on separation to the operating room and during induction of anesthesia (F[1,77] = 3.95, P = 0.041). Using a multivariate logistic regression model, the authors found that the presence or absence of postoperative behavioral changes was dependent on the group assignment (R = 0.18, P = 0.0001) and days after operation (R = -0.20, P = 0.0001). Post hoc analysis demonstrated that during postoperative days 1-7, a significantly smaller number of children in the midazolam group manifested negative behavioral changes. At week 2 postoperatively, however, there were no significant differences between the midazolam and placebo groups.ConclusionsChildren who are premedicated with midazolam before surgery have fewer negative behavioral changes during the first postoperative week.

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