Neurodevelopmental implications of the use of sedation and analgesia in neonates

Andrew Davidson, Randall P. Flick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Laboratory studies have shown that general anesthetics may cause accelerated apoptosis and other adverse morphologic changes in neurons of the developing brain. The mechanism may be related to the neuronal quiescence or inactivity associated with anesthetic exposure. Few data exist on how brief anesthetic exposure may affect neurodevelopment in the newborn. Good evidence however shows that untreated pain and stress have an adverse effect on neurodevelopment, and therefore, at this stage, providing effective analgesia, sedation, and anesthesia would seem to be more important than concern over neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-573
Number of pages15
JournalClinics in Perinatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • Analgesia
  • Neonates
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Sedation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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