Perioperative considerations in children with autism spectrum disorder

Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2016 Jun;29(3):359-66. doi: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000325.


Purpose of review: Children with autism often present a challenge to the anesthesiologist. This review summarizes the current experiences and recommendations for the perioperative management of this unique group of patients.

Recent findings: Autism is the fastest growing neurodevelopmental disorder in the world. Increased recognition and public awareness of the disease is driven largely by the advances in research. A large body of evidence exists that identifies the role of genetic, environmental, biological, and developmental factors in the origin of autism. The anesthesia literature consists mostly of case reports. Recent publications are reporting management strategies and evaluation of this patient population's perioperative experiences.

Summary: Patients with autism spectrum disorder are a heterogeneous group and often need general anesthesia for different procedures and studies. Familiarity with each patient's behavioral specifics and efforts to alleviate stress is of paramount importance for a smooth perioperative course with minimal adverse events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Anesthesia, General / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, General / methods*
  • Anesthesiologists / psychology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / complications*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / epidemiology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / etiology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / surgery
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures / adverse effects
  • Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures / psychology
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Premedication / methods*
  • Preoperative Period
  • Psychological Techniques


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives