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Anesthesiology/Anesthesia in babies and sleep disturbances


My 14 month old just had an MRI for sacral dimples. Upon waking up he was groggy and out of it for about  an hour. It has been almost a week since the scan and luckily His day to day activities and demeanor seem to be normal/ like they were prior to scan. However, his naps and night time sleep are much different. During naps, what used to take him 5-15 mins to fall asleep, now takes 45 mins to an hour. Throughout this time of trying to fall asleep, he is supper restless, flip flopping all over the bed uncontrollably. At night, it takes him about 45 mins to fall asleep and he wakes up many times crying and restless. I have a few questions for you.
1. Is this a common side effect of anesthesia on babies? How long does it last?
2. I'm worried that learning  disorders and adhd  are caused from anesthesiaa! Is this true? What is your knowledge on that issue? Should I be concerned? His scan results were negative, so luckily he won't have anymore exposures.
Thanks for your time.

Thanks for writing:

1.  Waking up groggy and being out of it for about an hour are common "side effects" of anesthesia.  The time frame is about an hour as you've noted.  The long term effects of anesthesia on babies to include sleep disorders is reported here      (,  but follows a much longer exposure to anesthesia than your child had.  The article states 10 days as the duration of longer term effects.

2. Some anesthesiologists worry that there are other long term effects from anesthesia (Google "cognitive impairment after anesthesia).  But I have serious doubts about it causing major learning disorders or the buzz-word blame-term of the day "ADHD".


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JM Starkman, MD


Over twenty-five years of adult and pediatric, inpatient and outpatient clinical anesthesia practice--some private, some group.

American Association of Physicians and Surgeons. My county medical society.

[not a researcher]

American medical school graduate. Board Certified. Fellowship trained Cardiovascular and Pediatric anesthesia subspecialist.

Past/Present Clients
Over 20,000 anesthetics, the majority of which have been personally managed, with less than 5% consisting of supervising nurse anesthetists or in-training resident physicians.

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