Safety of general anesthesia for lumbar puncture and bone marrow aspirate/biopsy in pediatric oncology patients

Clarice F Meneses, Julio Cesar de Freitas, Claudio G Castro, Felipe Copetti, Algemir L Brunetto
Journal of Pediatric Hematology/oncology 2009, 31 (7): 465-70

INTRODUCTION: Painful short duration procedures such as bone marrow aspiration/biopsy and the lumbar puncture with or without intrathecal chemotherapy are frequently performed during the treatment of children with cancer. This study evaluated the frequency and severity of complications of bone marrow aspiration biopsy and lumbar puncture/intrathecal chemotherapy under general anesthesia.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A prospective observational study was performed from November 2003 to August 2005. Patients with cancer younger than 21 years old, receiving treatment at the Pediatric Oncology Unity of Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, undergoing diagnostic and/or therapeutic short duration procedures carried out under general anesthesia in the outpatient surgery unit.

RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-seven patients were submitted to 423 procedures under general anesthesia. There were 61% boys, mean age of 7.5 years (0.2 to 21) and ASA II 98%. Eighty seven percent of the procedures were carried out in patients with leukemia or lymphoma. The majority of the procedures had no adverse events during intraoperative and postoperative periods. No procedure had to be suspended after it had begun. One patient had lumbar pain after the procedure and was admitted to the ward with suspected subdural bleeding, but this was not confirmed. No patient needed cardiopulmonary reanimation or treatment in the intensive care unit.

CONCLUSIONS: General anesthesia for short duration painful procedures in children undergoing treatment for malignancies is safe when carried out by trained professionals in outpatient clinical surgery unit.

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