Anesthesiologists call for more research into pediatric deaths caused by dental anesthesia

Anesthesiologists call for more research into pediatric deaths caused by dental anesthesia

Anesthesiologists call for more research into child deaths caused by dental anesthesia in an article published online by the journal Pediatrics.

Little is known about pediatric deaths caused by dental anesthesia in part because of the lack of data surrounding these events.

“There are so many questions that we need answers to when it comes to pediatric deaths caused by dental anesthesia,” said Dr. Helen Lee, assistant professor of anesthesiology in the UIC College of Medicine and lead author of the article. “Do the deaths reflect a need for more clinical training? Do we need better regulation of who gets and maintains sedation licenses? How can data best be collected after an adverse event? Are providers following clinical guidelines? If not, why not?”

Early childhood caries, or cavities, are the most common chronic childhood disease. In treating the cavities, moderate sedation or general anesthesia is sometimes given, depending on the severity of tooth decay and plan for treatment.

An estimated 100,000 to 250,000 pediatric dental sedations are performed each year in the United States using a variety of drugs, and can lead to adverse effects, including respiratory depression, airway obstruction and even death. But the number of deaths and exactly what caused deaths related to pediatric dental anesthesia are unknown because there is no data. Lee explains that there may be certain general factors associated with increased adverse effects related to pediatric dental anesthesia.

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Source: News Medical

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