Study objective: To determine the use of herbs and complementary and alternative medicine among a pediatric preoperative population.
Design: Prospective, consecutive clinical study and survey questionnaire.
Setting: Children's Hospital pediatric preoperative clinic.
Measurements and main results: A total of 1,100 surveys were distributed to pediatric patients under the age of 18 years during their preoperative visit over an 8-month period. The survey consisted of a questionnaire about the use of herbs and complementary and alternative therapies within 1 year before the anticipated surgery. The patient or legal guardian was asked whether the patient had tried any of the complementary and alternative medical therapies within 1 year before the scheduled surgical procedure. Of 1,021 completed surveys received, 29.5% of these patients indicated they had tried one or more complementary and alternative therapies in the past year before the surgery, and 12.8% of the pediatric patients used herbal remedies before the surgery.
Conclusions: Herbs and complementary and alternative medical therapies are frequently used in pediatric populations. Anesthesiologists need to be aware the usage of various herbal supplements in pediatric patients. It is important then to determine the potential of drug and anesthetic interactions in the perioperative period.