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Anaesthetic considerations in Down's syndrome: experience with 100 patients and a review of the literature

M Kobel, R E Creighton, D J Steward
Canadian Anaesthetists' Society Journal 1982, 29 (6): 593-9
Down's Syndrome (Trisomy 21, T21) occurs in approximately 0.15 per cent of live births. In addition to the stigmata of the syndrome, other congenital defects are frequently found in these patients. Cardiac lesions are particularly prominent. To determine the complications associated with anaesthesia and surgery we examined the records of 100 consecutive patients (58 males, 42 females) who underwent surgery with general anaesthesia during a two year period, from March 1978-March 1980. In addition to the cardiac lesions, the low birth weight of Trisomy 21 infants, increased susceptibility to infections, atlanto-occipital dislocation, and reduced central nervous system catecholamine levels might be expected to result in an increased incidence of complications. This study of 100 patients with Trisomy 21 (T21) indicates that the incidence of complications is low. However, the anaesthetist must understand the pathophysiology of T21 in order to provide optimal anaesthetic care.


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