The high-risk pediatric patient for ambulatory surgery

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Current opinion in anaesthesiology








PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The aim of this article is to briefly review the pediatric ambulatory surgery landscape, identify two of the most common comorbidities affecting this population, examine the influence of pediatric obesity and sleep disordered breathing (SDB)/obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on perioperative care, and provide information that can be used when formulating site specific criteria for ambulatory surgical centers. RECENT FINDINGS: Most pediatric surgeries performed are now ambulatory, a majority of which take place outside of academic centers. Children with comorbidities such as obesity and SDB/OSA are undergoing surgical or diagnostic procedures which were previously deemed unacceptable for ambulatory surgery. The increase in pediatric ambulatory surgery coupled with a recent shortage of pediatric anesthesiologists means many children will receive anesthesia care from general clinicians who care for children intermittently and may be unfamiliar with the perioperative risks these comorbidities can present. SUMMARY: Our pediatric ambulatory surgical population is anticipated to demonstrate increasing rates of obesity and SDB/OSA. Bringing attention to potential perioperative complications associated with these comorbidities provides a stronger foundation upon which to formulate criteria for individual ambulatory centers. It allows for targeted anesthetic management, influences provider assignments and/or staffing ratios, and informs scheduling times. For anesthesiologists who do not practice pediatric anesthesia daily, knowing what to anticipate plays a significant role in the ability to eliminate surprises and care for these patients safely.


Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine