Risk factors for spinal anesthesia in preterm infants undergoing inguinal hernia repair

Ze'ev Shenkman, Ilan Erez, Enrique Freud, Shmuel Arnon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To investigate the risk factors and incidence of perioperative adverse effects from unsupplemented spinal anesthesia in preterm infants. Times to resumption of oral feeding and to home discharge were also evaluated. Methods: Perioperative data were collected prospectively for all preterm and former preterm infants who underwent inguinal hernia repair with spinal anesthesia at a tertiary medical center. Results: The study group consisted of 144 infants with a median gestational age of 30 weeks, postmenstrual age of 37 weeks, birth weight of 1,420 g, and weight at surgery of 2,140 g. Overall, six (4.2%) infants had intraoperative complications, which included apnea (2/1.4%), bradycardia (2/1.4%), and hypoxemia (4/2.8%). Postoperative complications occurred in 15 (10.4%) infants, mainly hypoxemia (3/2.1%), bradycardia (8/5.5%), and apnea (6/4.1%). Predictive factors of an unfavorable outcome (apnea, resumption of oral feeding > 6 h postoperatively, or discharge > 30 h postoperatively) were bronchopulmonary dysplasia (odds ratio [OR] = 3.2, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 2.8-5.3; p = 0.01) and periventricular leukomalacia (OR = 2.8, 95%CI 2.1-4.9; p = 0.03). Conclusions: Spinal anesthesia is safe and effective for inguinal hernia repair in preterm infants, with early resumption of oral feeding and short hospitalization. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia and periventricular leukomalacia may pose risks for an unfavorable outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-226
Number of pages5
JournalJornal de Pediatria
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Hospital discharge
  • Oral feeding
  • Postoperative apnea
  • Preterm infants
  • Spinal anesthesia


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