Safe Anesthesia for Radiotherapy in Pediatric Oncology: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Experience, 2004-2006

Doralina L. Anghelescu, Laura L. Burgoyne, Wei Liu, Gisele M. Hankins, Cheng Cheng, Penny A. Beckham, Jack Shearer, Angela L. Norris, Larry E. Kun, George B. Bikhazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the incidence of anesthesia-related complications in children undergoing radiotherapy and the associated risk factors. Methods and Materials: We retrospectively investigated the incidence and types of anesthesia-related complications and examined their association with age, weight, oncology diagnosis, type of anesthetic (propofol vs. propofol and adjuncts), total propofol dose, anesthetic duration, type of radiotherapy procedure (simulation vs. radiotherapy) and patient position (prone vs. supine). Results: Between July 2004 and June 2006, propofol was used in 3,833 procedures (3,611 radiotherapy sessions and 222 simulations) in 177 patients. Complications occurred during 49 anesthetic sessions (1.3%). On univariate analysis, four factors were significantly associated with the risk of complications: procedure duration (p <0.001), total propofol dose (p <0.001), use of adjunct agents (vs. propofol alone; p = 0.029), and simulation (vs. radiotherapy; p = 0.014). Patient position (prone vs. supine) was not significantly associated with the frequency of complications (odds ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.33-1.53; p = 0.38). On multivariate analysis, the procedure duration (p <0.0001) and total propofol dose (p ≤0.03) were the most significant risk factors after adjustment for age, weight, anesthetic type, and procedure type. We found no evidence of the development of tolerance to propofol. Conclusion: The rate of anesthesia-related complications was low (1.3%) in our study. The significant risk factors were procedure duration, total propofol dose, the use of adjunct agents with propofol, and simulation (vs. radiotherapy).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Anesthesia
  • Oncology
  • Pediatric
  • Propofol
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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