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Newborn and Infant Care

Neonatal Anesthesia



In neonatal anesthesia give levels of sedation and risks involved.


Medications administered to newborns are best calculated by weight or by mg/kg. However, the type of medication/anesthesia involved and the neonate's health status at the time of surgery would also be factored into the choice of sedation. A rule of thumb that is sometimes used to evaluate the surgical risk status of a newborn is called the Rule of 10: meaning, the newborn weighs at least 10 pounds, has a hemoglobin of at least 10 and and a white blood cell count of at least 10,000. Such is often not the case with low birth weight infants. The most common risk to any type of sedation, despite the age of the patient, but particularly with the neonate who has an immature respiratory system, is respiratory depression. An anesthesiologist would best have to evaluate each patient on an individual basis. This question will be referred to our Expert in Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Newborn Care and to our Pharmacy/Medication Experts. Please check those Expert areas in a couple of days. Thanks for your question.

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati