Language, ethnicity play a role in postoperative behavioral change among chidlren

A study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2012™ annual meeting found children's negative behavioral change after surgery differs among Spanish- and English-speaking White and Hispanic families.

Previous studies show 80 percent of children exhibit some form of negative behavioral change (i.e. anxiety, separation anxiety, sleep disturbance, aggression toward authority, temper tantrums, apathy/withdrawal and eating problems) on the first day home after surgery, and for one-third of these children, change persists over the course of two weeks.

The severity and duration of negative behavioral change can vary according to individual characteristics such as temperament, age, postoperative pain and prior health care experience. The study aimed to determine whether ethnicity also plays a role in postoperative behavioral change among Hispanic and White children.

"It is known Hispanic children may under report pain and also are potentially at risk for suboptimal pain management," said study author Suzanne Strom, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine. "Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the incidence of behavioral change after surgery may also vary according to ethnicity."


University of California, Irvine


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