Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Anaesthesia
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 Neda Taghizadeh
This thesis addresses the question of what is the best evidence-based management for children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) coming under anaesthetic care in the hospital setting. The increasing prevalence of ASD (1) has meant that most anaesthetists need to become proficient in understanding and managing children with ASD. Children with ASD have higher hospital contact than their neurotypical peers.(2) Behavioural problems, sensory sensitivities, language deficit, and inflexibility with change contribute to the difficulties experienced by children with ASD in the hospital setting. (3)Hospitals may be inherently challenging to children with ASD: being inflexible places, with the sound of crying children, with invasive monitoring techniques and bright lights.(4) One unpleasant anaesthetic experience can lead to heightened anxiety and future refusal to attend hospital. In order to find the context for best anaesthetic care, we have reviewed the existing literature about ASD and its management in chapter one. The first part of chapter two is a review of anxiety and premedication in general terms. The evidence for current best practices in managing children with ASD in the perioperative period is outlined in the second part of chapter two. To further understand the family and staff perspective of optimal care, we conducted a qualitative study of 29 individuals including 15 parents of children with ASD who had had a recent anaesthetic and 14 staff members that had looked after them in different capacities at two hospitals in Melbourne, Australia in chapter three. Chapter four contains discussion and conclusion. It includes discussion about the discontinued preparation/premedication trial (CLOMID). The flaws in the design and obstacles in its execution are examined. Our data showed important organisational, educational and resource matters. Problems such as prolong waiting for an operation date, lack of training of staff including anaesthetists and nurses, lack of availability of simple equipment and private spaces in the recovery rooms- were to be addressed. Good communication, clear explanation, and friendly attitudes as well as flexibility and individualised care of patients were considered useful. The supplementary material includes a protocol for a preparation /premedication study that has not been concluded as well as two social stories that I have designed.
KeywordsASD; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Anxiety; Perioperative Care; Premedication; Hospital Staff; Paediatric Anaesthesia; Surgery; Child developmental disorder; Preoperative period; Preoperative preparation; Antianxiety agents; Midazolam; Clonidine; Dexmedetomidine; Ketamine
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