Propofol-based balanced anesthesia is safer in pediatric radiotherapy

J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2019 Dec;25(8):1891-1896. doi: 10.1177/1078155218825296. Epub 2019 Jan 30.


Backround and purpose: To investigate the incidence of complications related to propofol-based anesthesia and the factors associated with complications in children with radiotherapy.

Materials and methods: Patients who underwent anesthesia for external beam radiotherapy between May 2013 and November 2017 were included in the study. We assessed the age/weight, sex, oncologic diagnosis, type of radiotherapy procedure, duration of anesthesia, applied agents, and complications related to anesthesia. Complications were evaluated between group I (only propofol group) and group II (propofol plus adjuvant drugs) as respiratory and cardiac.

Results: In 130 patients, sedation was given for 1376 radiotherapy procedures. Of these, 1274 (1140 radiation treatment sessions and 134 computed tomography simulations) in 126 patients were propofol-based and were included in the analysis. Although respiratory complications are the most common in both groups, there were no episodes of laryngospasm, broncospasm, and no use of advanced airway intervention. The rate of complication was significantly higher in only propofol anesthesia group than in patients treated with propofol plus adjuvant drugs. In the multivariate analysis, we found three factors that were significantly associated with the risk of complications: total dose of propofol (mg/kg) (p < 0.001), anesthesia with propofol alone (as compared to propofol plus adjunct agents) (p = 0.001), and diagnosis of neuroblastoma (as compared to other diagnosis) (p = 0.043).

Conclusion: Propofol-based anesthesia is preferred in order to minimize the rate of complications in radiotherapy anesthesia applications. The use of non-opioid adjuvants in combination with propofol to achieve a balanced anesthesia will also reduce the complications that may be encountered.

Keywords: Anesthesia; pediatric radiotherapy; propofol-based anesthesia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anesthesia / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia / methods
  • Balanced Anesthesia / adverse effects
  • Balanced Anesthesia / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Propofol / administration & dosage*
  • Propofol / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Propofol