Date: August 29, 2016

Source: World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists

Summary: New research shows that allowing children to use iPads to distract them before surgery requiring general anesthesia is as effective at lowering their anxiety as conventional sedatives.

Mobile interactive tools have been found to be effective to reduce child anxiety at parental separation in the operating theatre. The authors’ aim in this study was to compare the effects of midazolam (a sedative used regularly before anaesthesia) in premedication with age-appropriate game apps (on an iPad tablet) on children aged 4-10 years during and after ambulatory (day) surgery…

The researchers found both parental and child anxiety levels to be similar in both groups, with a similar pattern of evolution. Both parents and nurses found anaesthesia more satisfying in the iPad group.

Dr Chassard concludes: “Our study showed that child and parental anxiety before anaesthesia are equally blunted by midazolam or use of the iPad. However, the quality of induction of anaesthesia, as well as parental satisfaction, were judged better in the iPad group. Use of iPads or other tablet devices is a non-pharmacologic tool which can reduce perioperative stress without any sedative effect in paediatric ambulatory surgery.”

Source: iPads as effective as sedatives for children before operations — ScienceDaily