Using Technology to Reduce Childrens’ Anxiety Throughout the Perioperative Period

Goldschmidt, K. & Woolley, A. Journal of Pediatric Nursing | Published online: 27 April 2017


In the U.S. each year, approximately 5 million children undergo a surgical procedure (Perry, Hooper, & Masiongale, 2012). Surgery is one of the most stressful medical procedures that a child can experience. In fact, approximately 50% of children are reported to experience significant anxiety in the preoperative period (Perry et al., 2012). Pediatric nurses know the importance of incorporating parents into the child’s plan of care and understand that the child is comforted by the presence of someone that they know and love.

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Principles of ear nose and throat surgery for pregnant women

Baruah, P. et al. British Journal of Hospital Medicine. 78(4) pp. 206–212


Management of the pregnant surgical patient is challenging. The surgical procedure is usually postponed until the postpartum period, although this may not be possible in emergency situations. This article highlights the optimal management of the pregnant woman requiring ear nose and throat surgery.

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Recent developments in the surgical management of paediatric epilepsy

Ravindra, V.M. et al. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Published Online: 17 January 2017


Among the 1% of children affected by epilepsy, failure of pharmacological therapy and early age of seizure onset can lead to worse long-term cognitive outcomes, mental health disorders and impaired functional status. Surgical management often improves functional and cognitive outcomes in children with medically refractory epilepsy, especially when seizure remission is achieved. However, surgery remains underused in children with drug-resistant epilepsy, creating a large treatment gap. Several recent innovations have led to considerable improvement in surgical technique, including the recent development of minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic techniques such as stereotactic EEG, transcranial magnetic stimulation, MRI-guided laser ablation, as well as novel paradigms of neurostimulation. This article discusses the current landscape of surgical innovation in the management of paediatric epilepsy, leading to a paradigm shift towards minimally invasive therapy and closing the treatment gap in children suffering from drug-resistant seizures.

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Trends and changes in paediatric tonsil surgery

Borgström, T. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e013346

Objectives: The objective of this study was to longitudinally describe the history of tonsil surgery in Swedish children and adolescents regarding incidence, indications for surgery, surgical methods and the age and gender distributions.


Conclusions: There have been considerable changes in clinical practice for tonsil surgery in Swedish children over the past few decades. Overall, a doubling in the total incidence rate was observed. This increase consisted mainly of an increase in surgical procedures due to obstructive/SDB indications, particularly among the youngest age group (1–3 years old). TT has gradually replaced tonsillectomy as the predominant method for tonsil surgery.

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Psychological interventions in managing postoperative pain in children: a systematic review

Davidson, F. et al. (2016) Pain. 157(9). pp. 1872–1886


Pediatric surgeries are common and painful for children. Postoperative pain is commonly managed with analgesics; however, pain is often still problematic. Despite evidence for psychological interventions for procedural pain, there is currently no evidence synthesis for psychological interventions in managing postoperative pain in children.

The purpose of this review was to assess the efficacy of psychological interventions for postoperative pain in youth. Psychological interventions included Preparation/education, distraction/imagery, and mixed. Four databases (PsycINFO, PubMed, EMBASE, and Certified Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) were searched to July 2015 for published articles and dissertations.

We screened 1401 citations and included 20 studies of youth aged 2 to 18 years undergoing surgery. Two reviewers independently screened articles, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using RevMan 5.3. Fourteen studies (1096 participants) were included in meta-analyses. Primary outcome was pain intensity (0-10 metric).

Results indicated that psychological interventions as a whole were effective in reducing children’s self-reported pain in the short term (SMD = −0.47, 95% CI = −0.76 to −0.18). Subgroup analysis indicated that distraction/imagery interventions were effective in reducing self-reported pain in the short term (24 hours, SMD = −0.63, 95% CI = −1.04 to −0.23), whereas preparation/education interventions were not effective (SMD = −0.27, 95% CI = −0.61 to 0.08).

Data on the effects of interventions on longer term pain outcomes were limited. Psychological interventions may be effective in reducing short-term postoperative pain intensity in children, as well as longer term pain and other outcomes (eg, adverse events) require further study.

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Variability in anesthesiologists’ approach to the preoperative management of asthmatic children

Domany, K.A. et al. Journal of Clinical Anesthesia. December 2016. Volume 35. pp. 62–69


  • No preoperative guidelines exist for asthmatic child referred to elective surgery.
  • A national survey showed substantial variability among pediatric anesthesiologists.
  • A relative homogeneity exists for the stable, school-aged asthmatic child.
  • Further studies and implementation of consensus guidelines are needed.


Objective: No consensus guidelines exist for the preoperative treatment of asthmatic children referred for elective surgery. We investigated the attitude of pediatric anesthesiologists to this issue.


Measurement: Twenty-one questions regarding the approach to preoperative management of asthmatic children including 6 case scenarios with a variety of clinical situations and treatments of asthmatic children. The results were compared with the attitude of pediatric pulmonologists recently published using a similar methodology.

Main results: Forty-four pediatric anesthesiologists from all 24 general hospitals in Israel responded. Twenty-five percent of pediatric anesthesiologists answered that, in addition to pediatric anesthesiologists, the primary pediatrician should be consulted, and 70% believed that a pediatric pulmonologists should also be consulted. Overall, results showed a wide variability between responders especially for preschool children and unstable school-aged asthmatic children for both disciplines. The variability referred to the use of any treatment, bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids and their combination, addition of systemic corticosteroids, and the length of preoperative treatment. Compared with pediatric pulmonologists, a better within-discipline agreement was observed by the pediatric anesthesiologists for stable school-aged asthmatic children with a lower inclination to augment preoperative treatment (P< .001). No difference was observed for the preschool children with asthma and for the unstable school-aged asthmatic child.

Conclusions: A wide variability exists in pediatric anesthesiologists’ approach to the preoperative management of asthmatic children for most common case scenarios. This is probably explained by the heterogeneity of asthma, the type of surgery, the lack of guidelines, and the paucity of data. Similarities as well as differences exist between pediatric anesthesiologists and pulmonologists. Further studies and implementation of consensus guidelines are needed.

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Developmental outcomes and physical activity behaviour in children post major surgery: an observational study

Dwyer, G. M. et al. BMC Pediatrics. Published online: 3 August 2016

children-1266195_960_720Background: Infants may be at neurodevelopmental risk from adverse events arising in the neonatal period. This study aimed to investigate the developmental outcomes and physical activity behaviours of term infants after neonatal major surgery, at age three years.

Methods: This prospective study enrolled infants who underwent major surgery in their first 90 days, between August 2006 and December 2008. Developmental status was assessed using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (BSID-III). Physical activity and sedentary behaviour (i.e. small screen recreation) (SSR) were assessed using the Preschool-Age Physical Activity Questionnaire (Pre-PAQ). Activity (moving between slow to fast pace) and SSR were reported for a 3-day period.

Results: One hundred and thirty five children (68 major surgery, 67 control) were assessed, using both measures, at age three years. Both groups were within the average range across all domains of the BSID-III although the surgical group was significantly below the controls for cognition (t = −3.162, p = 0.002) receptive language (t = −3.790, p < 0.001) and fine motor skills (t = −2.153, p = 0.03). Mean activity time for the surgical group was 191−1, and 185 for controls. Mean SSR time was 77−1, and 83−1 for the respective groups. There was no significant difference between groups for either physical activity (p = 0.71) or SSR time (p = 0.49).

Conclusions: By age three, children who had major surgery in infancy are developmentally normal but have not quite caught up with their peer group in cognitive, receptive language and fine motor skill domains. Both groups met recommended 3 h of daily physical activity but exceeded 60-min SSR time recommended for preschool-age children.

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