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Study: Carbon monoxide exposure can be reduced during routine anesthesia in kids
Date:4/29/2010

Washington, DC Doctors at Children's National Medical Center have found that carbon monoxide levels in the blood of young children increase during routine general anesthesia. Anesthesiologists have found for the first time that, under certain circumstances, infants and children may be exposed to carbon monoxide during routine anesthesia resulting in a rise in the carbon monoxide levels in the child's blood. Because carbon monoxide can be generated as a byproduct of anesthesia, anesthesiologists world-wide use specific precautions to prevent and limit its production, according to Richard J. Levy, MD, Chief of Cardiac Anesthesiology, at Children's National. Dr. Levy's team identified the conditions in which carbon monoxide may be inhaled during anesthesia:

  • The first study demonstrated that carbon monoxide detected in the breathing circuit correlated with the increase in blood levels in children 2 years and older. The study included 15 patients between 4 months and 8 years.
  • The second study identified that the patient's own exhaled carbon monoxide may be "re-breathed" during low-flow anesthesia the current standard of care where fresh gas flows more slowly into the circuit, rather than rapidly.

"The main goal is to provide the safest environment for young patients who require surgery," said Dr. Levy. "We have identified tangible ways to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide exposure, and our hope is that these changes will be implemented internationally."

Much remains unknown about
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Contact: Emily Dammeyer
edammeye@cnmc.org
202-476-4500
Children's National Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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