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Despite its benignity, upper respiratory infections (URIs) 1 increase the risk of postoperative respiratory complications during the perioperative and postoperative periods. Flumazenil could improve the symptoms of respiratory obstruction.To evaluate the effect of flumazenil on the occurrence of respiratory complications during anesthesia emergence of children with preoperative URI.This was a prospective study of 164 consecutive pediatric patients who underwent strabismus surgery under general anesthesia at the Tianjin Eye Hospital between August 2016 and April 2017. The patients were grouped as: normal airway (N), recent mild URI (I), normal airway and flumazenil (NF), and recent mild URI and flumazenil (group IF) (n = 41/group). An initial dose of flumazenil (0.1 mg) was administrated intravenously to groups IF and NF. The intraoperative and postoperative respiratory complications were recorded by one anesthesiologist unaware of the grouping.All patients underwent surgery uneventfully. The incidence of postoperative respiratory complications in post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) was higher in group I compared with the other 3 groups (IF: 17%; I: 41%; NF: 5%; N: 10%; P = .0147). During the PACU period, significant differences among groups were seen for cough (IF: 15%; I: 20%; NF: 2%; N: 0%; P = .004), secretion (IF: 17%; I: 29%; NF: 5%; N: 7%; P = .007), low oxygen saturation (IF: 12%; I: 32%; NF: 2%; N: 7%; P = .001), and glossocoma (IF: 15%; I: 34%; NF: 10%; N: 32%; P = .015).Respiratory complications during anesthesia emergence were higher in patients with recent preoperative URI compared to patients with healthy airways. Postoperative flumazenil could reduce the incidence of glossocoma.