Beginning in the 1980s, prospective studies confirmed what was previously suspected from case reports: that prematurely born infants were at a higher risk of developing central and obstructive apneas after general anesthesia compared with their term counterparts.1,2 This finding resulted in the extended use of cardiorespiratory monitoring (ie, usually overnight) in these infants after exposure to anesthetic agents before discharge from the hospital. Although a number of centers reported varying results, this increased risk seemed to last until ∼5 or 6 months into the first year of life. Similarly, an increased risk of postprocedure oxyhemoglobin desaturation was found in preterm infants after chloral hydrate sedation for MRIs.3 Although most pediatric anesthesiologists would agree that prematurity is a strong risk factor for additional respiratory complications (eg, bronchospasm, laryngospasm), surprisingly little information has been published on the subject.

With this in mind, the Pediatric Sedation Research Consortium (PSRC)...

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