Project Details

E.W. "Al" Thrasher

Status: Funded - Open

Neurocognitive outcomes 5 years after infant anesthesia: The GAS Trial

Mary Ellen McCann, M.D., MPH


BACKGROUND:  Animal models, including primates, have shown that anesthetic and sedative agents cause increased rates of neuronal necrosis and apoptosis in the developing brain, as well as later learning deficits and human cohort studies have shown that young children exposed to general anesthetics have an increased incidence of later learning difficulties. These observational studies are flawed because they did not adequately address confounding factors that could lead to later neurodevelopmental impairments such as premorbid conditions requiring surgery (congenital anomalies, birth trauma, infection etc.) or the surgical experience itself.  

GAP: To reduce confounding factors, a randomized prospective controlled trial has been conducted on a group of study subjects with no significant premorbid conditions who underwent uncomplicated surgery (inguinal herniorrhaphy)

HYPOTHESIS: At 5 years of age, the Full-scale IQ score on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Third Edition (WPPSI-III) will be equivalent in children who received general anesthesia or regional awake anesthesia (i.e., the 2-sided 95% confidence interval for the adjusted treatment group difference in means lies within -5 and +5 points).  We also hypothesize that the scores of children in the treatment groups will be equivalent on assessments of other specific neurocognitive domains.

METHODS: The GAS trial is an international prospective randomized equivalence trial comparing the neurocognitive effects of general anesthesia to regional anesthesia in infants undergoing inguinal herniorrhapy. Seven hundred and twenty two infants were enrolled and will undergo neurocognitive testing at age 2 and age 5.

RESULTS: Pending

IMPACT: A significant treatment group difference will mean that we need to develop anesthetic agents that are safer, recommend delaying elective surgery or consider foregoing sedation for pediatric procedures. If there is no difference, current concerns of parents and practitioners about anesthetic safety will be allayed.

Supervising Institution:
Boston Children's Hospital

Project Location:
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois, Washington, Iowa, Texas, Vermont

Award Amount: