oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Anaesthesia and the developing brain : review

Volume 20, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2220-1181
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1173



Increasing concern about the effect of anaesthesia on the infant and young child is raised by health care practitioners as well as the public immature neurons exposed to anaesthesia may lead to apoptosis and long-term neurobehavioural deficits in animals. The majority of anaesthetic agents work by influencing GABA or NMDA receptors and may induce animal neuro apoptosis. The search for neuroprotective strategies to reverse or counter act the effect of anaesthesia, so far, has not been very successful. Dexmedetomidine is an α-2 adrenoreceptor and may have neuroprotective effects. The available human studies have failed to prove any long-term neurobehavioural deficiencies caused by anaesthetic exposure. Large international prospective studies are currently on the way that may change the practice of paediatric and obstetric anaesthesiologists in the future.

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