Anesthesia for pediatric external beam radiation therapy.
BACKGROUND: For very young patients, anesthesia is often required for radiotherapy. This results in multiple exposures to anesthetic agents over a short period of time. We report a consecutive series of children anesthetized for external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). METHODS: Five hundred twelve children < or = 16 years old received EBRT from January 1983 to February 1996. Patient demographics, diagnosis, anesthesia techniques, monitoring, airway management, complications, and outcome were recorded for the patients requiring anesthesia. RESULTS: One hundred twenty-three of the 512 children (24%) required 141 courses of EBRT with anesthesia. Anesthetized patients ranged in age from 20 days to 11 years (mean 2.6 +/- 1.8 ). The frequency of a child receiving EBRT and requiring anesthesia by age cohort was: < or = 1 year (96%), 1-2 years (93%), 2-3 years (80%), 3-4 years (51%), 4-5 years (36%), 5-6 years (13%), 6-7 years (11%), and 7-16 years (0.7%). Diagnoses included: primary CNS tumor (28%), retinoblastoma (27%), neuroblastoma (20%), acute leukemia (9%), rhabdomyosarcoma (6%), and Wilms' tumor (4%). Sixty-three percent of the patients had been exposed to chemotherapy prior to EBRT. The mean number of anesthesia sessions per patient was 22 +/- 16. Seventy-eight percent of the treatment courses were once daily and 22% were twice daily. Anesthesia techniques included: short-acting barbiturate induction + inhalation maintenance (21%), inhalation only (20%), ketamine (19%), propofol only (12%), propofol induction + inhalation maintenance (7%), ketamine induction + inhalation maintenance (6%), ketamine or short-acting barbiturate induction + inhalation maintenance (6%). Monitoring techniques included: EKG (95%), O2 saturation (93%), fraction of inspired O2 (57%), and end-tidal CO2 (55%). Sixty-four percent of patients had central venous access. Eleven of the 74 children with a central line developed sepsis (15%): 6 of the 11 were anesthetized with propofol (55%), 4 with a short-acting barbiturate induction plus inhalation maintenance (36%), and 1 with inhalation alone (9%). Eight of the 11 (73%) received prior chemotherapy. CONCLUSION: Anesthesia was generally necessary at < or = 3 years, and rarely required at > 5 years of age. Sepsis associated with frequent use of the central venous access line was seen in 15% of the patients with these lines.
Fortney, JT; Halperin, EC; Hertz, CM; Schulman, SR
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