Risk factors for laryngospasm in children during general anesthesia

Randall P. Flick, Robert T. Wilder, Stephen F. Pieper, Kevin Vankoeverden, Kyle M. Ellison, Mary E.S. Marienau, Andrew C. Hanson, Darrell R. Schroeder, Juraj Sprung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background: Laryngospasm is a common and often serious adverse respiratory event encountered during anesthetic care of children. We examined, in a case control design, the risk factors for laryngospasm in children. Material and Methods: The records of 130 children identified as having experienced laryngospasm under general anesthesia were examined. Cases were identified from those prospectively entered into the Mayo Clinic performance improvement database between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 2005. Potential demographic, patient, surgical and anesthetic related risk factors were determined in a 1 : 2 case-control study. Results: No individual demographic factors were found to be significantly associated with risk for laryngospasm. However, multivariate analysis demonstrated significant associations between laryngospasm and intercurrent upper respiratory infection (OR 2.03 P = 0.022) and the presence of an airway anomaly (OR = 3.35, P = 0.030). Among those experiencing laryngospasm during maintenance or emergence, the use of a laryngeal mask airway was strongly associated even when adjusted for the presence of upper respiratory infection and airway anomaly (P = 0.019). Ten patients experienced postoperatively one or more complications whereas only three complications were observed among controls (P = 0.008). No child required cardiopulmonary resuscitation and there were no deaths in either study cohort. Conclusions: In our pediatric population, the risk of laryngospasm was increased in children with upper respiratory tract infection or an airway anomaly. The use of laryngeal mask airway was found to be associated with laryngospasm even when adjusted for the presence of upper respiratory tract infection and airway anomaly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-296
Number of pages8
JournalPaediatric Anaesthesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008


  • Children
  • Endotracheal tube
  • General anesthesia
  • Laryngeal mask
  • Laryngospasm
  • Mask

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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