Significant Risk for Major Surgery in Low-Weight Infants

Significant Risk for Major Surgery in Low-Weight Infants
Significant Risk for Major Surgery in Low-Weight Infants

(HealthDay News) — In very low-birth-weight infants, major surgery is independently associated with more than a 50% increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months' corrected age, according to a study published online June 16 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Frank H. Morriss, Jr., MD, from University of Iowa in Iowa City, and colleagues analyzed data from 12,111 patients enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network Generic Database (1998–2009). Evaluations were made at 18–22 months' corrected age and included patients that had birth weight between 401–1,500g and survival to 12 hours.

The researchers found that 2,186 infants underwent major surgery (with general anesthesia), 784 had minor surgery, and 9,141 infants did not undergo surgery. For all surgery patients, the risk-adjusted odds ratio of death or neurodevelopmental impairment was 1.29, compared with those who had no surgery. The risk-adjusted odds ratio of death or neurodevelopmental impairment was 1.52 for patients undergoing major surgery versus those with no surgery. There was no increased adjusted risk for patients having minor surgery.

"The role of general anesthesia is implicated but remains unproven," the authors write.

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