Perioperative opioid administration in children with and without developmental delay undergoing outpatient dental surgery

Erin R. Conner, Erica D. Musser, Kelsey M. Colpitts, Dean L. Laochamroonvorapongse, Jeffrey L. Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Study objective Prior research has indicated that children with developmental delay (DD) experience qualitative and quantitative differences in health care (Boulet et al., 2009). In the perioperative setting, there is concern that children with DD may be more likely to experience postoperative complications including agitation and nausea/vomiting than typically developing patients (TDP). Differences in the administration and dosage of perioperative opioids may contribute to this, however, empirical investigations are lacking. The purpose of this research was to compare the experience of postoperative nausea/vomiting and agitation, as well as to examine perioperative opioid administration, among children with DD as compared to TDP. Design Retrospective original research. Setting Operating room, postanesthesia care unit. Patients 1145 patients (1–20.9 years, ASA I-III, 23.9% with a history of DD) who had undergone outpatient dental surgery involving extraction/restorations under general anesthesia. Measurements Data was obtained and analyzed from the medical records of both DD and TDP across a five-year period. Data included the experience of agitation, nausea/vomiting, as well as perioperative medication administration. Main results Postoperative agitation and nausea/vomiting did not differ significantly between the DD and TDP groups. Children with DD were significantly less likely to receive opioids during both the intra and postoperative period (χ2 = 10.02, p = 0.001 and χ2 = 8.08, p = 0.003, respectively). Further, higher dosage of intraoperative opioids was predictive of reduced administration of postoperative opioids among TDP; however, no significant association was observed between the dosage of intraoperative opioids and administration of postoperative opioids in the DD group. Conclusions Children with DD experience similar rates of postoperative complications including nausea/vomiting and agitation as TDP. DD children were less likely to receive both intra and postoperative opioids than TDP. Importantly, while the dosage of intraoperative opioids was predictive of administration of postoperative opioids in the TDP group, this was not the case for the DD group. Clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-96
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Developmental delay
  • Intraoperative opioids
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Postoperative complications
  • Postoperative opioids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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