Cochrane Summaries

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Regional (spinal, epidural, caudal) versus general anaesthesia in preterm infants undergoing inguinal herniorrhaphy in early infancy

Craven PD, Badawi N, Henderson-Smart DJ, O'Brien M
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

Not enough evidence to show whether regional anaesthesia is better than general anaesthetic for a preterm baby having surgery for inguinal hernia. Babies born preterm (before 37 weeks) often have serious health problems and sometimes need surgery. Inguinal hernia (where the intestine protrudes through the abdominal wall) is the commonest condition where surgery is needed. General anaesthetics for surgery can disrupt breathing and cause other complications in preterm babies. Regional anaesthetics including spinal block (injection) might avoid complications. Whether this improves outcomes for preterm babies having surgery has been unclear. The review found that there is not enough evidence from trials to show whether or not spinal block improves outcomes for a preterm baby having surgery for inguinal hernia.