BackgroundReports conflict on optimal postoperative analgesic treatment in children with intellectual disability. We retrospectively compared postoperative analgesics consumption between neonates with and without Downs syndrome in relation to anaesthesia requirements and pain scores. MethodsWe analysed hypnotic and analgesic drug administration, pain scores [COMFORT-Behaviour (COMFORT-B) scale], and duration of mechanical ventilation during the first 48 h after surgical repair of congenital duodenal obstruction in neonates, between 1999 and 2011. Data of 15 children with Downs syndrome were compared with data of 30 children without Downs syndrome. ResultsGeneral anaesthesia requirements did not differ. The median (inter-quartile range) maintenance dose of morphine during the first 24 h after operation was 9.5 (7.810.1) g kg -1 h -1 in the Downs syndrome group vs 7.7 (5.010.0) g kg -1 h -1 in the control group (P0.46). Morphine doses at postoperative day 2 and COMFORT-B scores at day 1 did not significantly differ between the two groups. COMFORT-B scores at day two were lower in children with Downs syndrome (P0.04). The duration of postoperative mechanical ventilation did not statistically differ between the two groups (P0.89). ConclusionsIn this study, neonates with and without Downs syndrome received adequate postoperative analgesia, as judged from comparable analgesic consumption and pain scores. We recommend prospective studies in children of different age groups with Downs syndrome and in other groups of intellectually disabled children to provide further investigation of the hypothesis that intellectual disability predisposes to different analgesic requirements.

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Keywords anaesthesia, general, analgesia, Down syndrome, infant, newborn, intestinal atresia
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Journal British Journal of Anaesthesia
Valkenburg, A.J, van Dijk, M, de Leeuw, T.G, Meeussen, C.J.H.M, Knibbe, C.A.J, & Tibboel, D. (2012). Anaesthesia and postoperative analgesia in surgical neonates with or without Downs syndrome: Is it really different?. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 108(2), 295–301. doi:10.1093/bja/aer421