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Neonatal Med. 2017 May;24(2):71-76. Korean. Original Article.
Ho YH , Choi JH , Kim JS , Sung SI , Ahn SY , Kim SJ , Chang YS , Park WS .
Department of Pediatrics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Ophthalmology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

PURPOSE: Laser therapy for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is commonly performed under general anesthesia (GA). However, the use of GA for laser therapy in neonates who have already undergone invasive ventilation may lead to postoperative complications such as severe apnea or the development of ventilator dependency. This study aimed to examine the safety of administering only sedatives instead of GA in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants, who are the usual recipients of laser therapy for ROP. METHODS: Among ELBW infants who were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Samsung Medical Center between January and December 2012, we studied 30 patients treated with laser therapy for ROP. RESULTS: The mean gestational age of the patients was 24.6±1.9 weeks, with a mean birth weight of 646±140 g. The mean age and weight of patients at the time of laser therapy for ROP was 36.3±2.3 weeks and 1,470±423 g. In terms of sedatives, 14 patients (46.7%) were administered chloral hydrate alone, 14 (46.7%) were administered a combination of chloral hydrate and midazolam, one was administered midazolam alone, and one received fentanyl. Prior to laser therapy, 16 patients (53.5%) had established self-respiration, 13 (43.3%) relied on non-invasive ventilation and one patient relied on invasive mechanical ventilation. Following laser therapy, two patients who initially had exhibited self-respiration required respiratory assistance via non-invasive positive pressure ventilation and no patient required intratracheal intubation. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the use of sedatives may be safe for ELBW infants who undergo laser therapy for ROP.

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