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-   -   ANY learning difficulties in children exposed to general anesthesia in infant-hood? ( 05-15-2011 03:06 PM

ANY learning difficulties in children exposed to general anesthesia in infant-hood?
Have you observed ANY learning difficulties in children exposed to general anesthesia in infanthood?
This is a note to all the parents who exposed their otherwise healthy children with PWS to number of laser surgeries under GA before the age of 4.
Have you observed ANY learning difficulties or cognitive delays in your children as the years passed by?
The reason I post such question is due to increased concern and many new research articles that are published over the last 2 years on that subject on the internet. There is clearly reason to be concerned about as animal study proved the point but we have not completed human studies to confirm/rule out that early exposure to GA causes learning difficulties in children.

As a parent of a 17 months old baby with PWS I have serious concerns as I don't want to sacrifice his brain health for beauty.
When I started his treatment anesthesiologist sad 'I should not worry about it', now he says: 'some drugs MAY cause learning disabilities but we don't know that for sure yet... you have to weight the risks and make a decision based on this'.
Any help in that topic please?

missy 05-16-2011 12:44 AM

Hi and welcome!

I'm afraid I don't really have any more information than you've found already. It's hard to decide when there is not yet proof one way or another. I think at this point, each family has to do what feels right to them.

Missy 05-16-2011 01:19 AM

true, thank you Missy. I wonder if parents who have few years old children that went through the number of procedures can comment on that topic. It's a hard one.

missy 05-16-2011 12:05 PM

One thing is that the only children that *I* know who go through treatments like that have Sturge Weber Syndrome. Sturge Weber is a syndrome that includes port wine stain and either glaucoma OR seizures. One of the difficulties of SWS is that it can come with learning disabilities.

Ask some of the experts, though, if they can point you toward MORE research. Dr. Nelson and Dr. Comi would be two goods ones to ask if they can steer you toward any new research.

Let us know if you find out any more.


nickbar 06-01-2011 08:46 PM

Do you have a diagnosis of SWS?

nickbar 06-01-2011 08:50 PM

Also, We had a pediatric anesthesiologist speak at our previous California Conference. We spoke on risks of anesthesia use in small children. I will search to see if I can find information on his presentation.

abatie 06-02-2011 02:15 AM

I know that in our case the need for anesthesia would out weigh any possible (and remember no one can tell you there will be a problem) learning issues. If the procedure you are considering is truly needed for your child's well-being any future chances of learning issues come in second. Our daughter has already had anesthesia twice and we wouldn't ever second guess the decision. One time it allowed her cardiologist to diagnos her atrial septal defects (holes in the heart) and the other allowed us to get a true picture of her hearing which we needed so that we could prevent a delay in communication which would have also led to learning issues down the road. I am not trying to be unsympathetic of what you are feeling because I understand where you a coming from because you want to give your child all the best that you can. I just want to point out that you never know what the result of anything will be but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. I did everything right during my pregnancy but that didn't insure that I had a healthy baby. You deal with everything as it comes. 06-05-2011 12:30 PM

Thank you for your replays. It made a difference to me. I so wish I had more light on this issue. If there is anything you know of- please forward it to me ?
My child is otherwise healthy, he has a cosmetic issue- that is port wine stain on his both ears and parts of his cheeks and neck. He responded well to his surgeries, as far his birthmark is gone by about 50%. We treated him twice under GA and 3 times without.
The scary bit is that if I go according to treatment plan I'll espouse him to additional few surgeries. (By the age of 3-4 - some kids have 15- 20 surgeries behind... and that's the most sensitive time for developing human brain ref: ). I want to prespone his treatment and start it again after his 3rd birthday to avoid any risks that GA may impose. Animal studies prove again and again that brain is adversely influenced to repeated general anesthesia in the first phase of rapid development...
If my child had heart or any life threatening condition, as in case of Abatie's daughter I'd definitely not think twice about the surgery... but cosmetic procedure? I can't justify it to myself to take the risk... even if they are not proven yet... I think that they will get better lasers in the future to remove PWS but if I let my child's brain to be somehow destroyed now- I'll not be able to reverse the damage.
Thank you so much for your reply and wisdom.

abatie 06-05-2011 11:49 PM

I agree with your thought process completely on the idea of surgery for only cosmetic reasons. What has your doctor said about postponing? Do they feel the results would be the same? I know that for my part I probably wouldn't do anything such as surgery for cosmetic reasons but that is just a personal thing. I know many people want to improve their child's appearance to avoid teasing. They also feel that it will give there child a more even playing field in life. I have read about many on this board who struggle because of lots of different conditions. I remember being very self-confident of Becca's CMTC when she was first born (I rarely put her in shorts during her first summer) but I don't give it a second thought. We will make sure to talk with her about being self-confident and will do everything we can for her. That being said, I may feel differently if my child had a condition on her face because that is always visible to everyone you meet. We have also already had some negative experiences with people and Becca's condition so we can understand how rude people can be.

nickbar 06-06-2011 08:48 PM

here it is:

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