Electronic tablets such as iPads demonstrated similar efficacy as a sedative commonly administered to children before general anesthesia,, a new study has found.

A total of 112 children were randomized to either MDZ (midazolam, n=54) or TAB (iPad, n=58). The MDZ patients received midazolam 0.3mg/kg orally or rectally, while the TAB group was given an iPad for 20 minutes before anesthesia.  

Two independent psychologists assessed anxiety in parents and children at 4 points; 1) arrival at hospital, 2) separation from parents, 3) during anesthetic induction (children only), and 4) in the post anesthesia care unit. Child anxiety was measured using the m-YPAS scale and parental anxiety was measured using STAI score. 

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Furthermore the anesthetic nurses and parents ranked the quality of anesthesia induction from 0 (not satisfied) to 10 (highly satisfied).

Results showed anxiety levels for both parents and children to be similar in both the MDZ and TAB group, with a similar pattern of evolution. However, the level of satisfaction for anesthesia induction for both parents and nurses was rated more satisfying with the group who had the iPads.

Lead authors of the study, Dr. Dominique Chassard, said, “Use of iPads or other tablet devices is a non-pharmacologic tool which can reduce perioperative stress without any sedative effect in pediatric ambulatory surgery.”

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