Background: There are few published data comparing the psychological effects of intravenous (i.v.) and inhalation methods of anaesthesia induction in children. In the present study, we compared perioperative anxiety and postoperative behavioural changes in children undergoing standardized i.v. induction with thiopental and inhalation induction with sevoflurane for routine ear, nose and throat surgery. Methods: Children were randomly assigned to receive inhalation induction with sevoflurane or i.v. induction with thiopental. Anxiety was assessed on arrival, at induction and 30 min after transfer to the recovery room using a four-point scale. The incidence of postoperative behavioural disturbances was determined using a postoperative questionnaire. Results: Significantly more children were anxious during induction in the i.v. group than in the inhalation group [23 of 50 (46%) versus 5 of 50 (10%), P = 0.0001]. Mean induction time was shorter (5.6 versus 7.0 min; P = 0.0001) and recovery time longer (30.5 versus 10.4 min; P = 0.0001) in the i.v. group compared with the inhalation group. Problematic behavioural changes were reported in the first 2 weeks after surgery in nine of 32 children (28%) in the i.v. group and 16 of 34 (48%) children in the inhalation group (P = 0.13). Conclusions: Although children were more anxious during i.v. induction than inhalation induction, there was no difference in the incidence of behavioural disturbances in the first 2 weeks postoperatively.
- Complications: anxiety, posthospitalization behavioural changes
- Induction: sevoflurane, thiopental