Several reports have surfaced in the past 18 months which point to an increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder – ADHD – in children who underwent post natal surgery requiring general anesthesia at age two or under.  The esteemed Mayo Clinic has posted a peer reviewed study. The study’s conclusion:  “Children repeatedly exposed to procedures requiring general anesthesia before age 2 years are at increased risk for the later development of ADHD even after adjusting for co-morbidities.”

A caveat – the study looked at children born approximately 30 years ago. Both anesthesia and the tests used to diagnose ADHD have evolved.

Parents and family may want to know exactly what is the risk? The cumulative incidence of ADHD at age 19 among children in the study who had never been exposed to anesthesia was 7.3%, while the incidence for a single exposure was 10.7%.  For those with two or more exposures, the incidence rose to 17.9%.

Mayo Clinic Study

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