Critical care  

Computer-assisted anaesthesia for
children and newborns

16 September 2005

London, UK. Dräger Medical has developed a computer-assisted anaesthesia system with a small system volume that can deliver the exact amount of gas needed for the patient, making it suitable for use in paediatric ventilation.

The company presented its customised solution for paediatric and newborn anaesthesia at this year's Federation of European Associations of Paediatric Anaesthesia (FEAPA) convention from September 1-3 in Cologne, Germany.

With new software (v3.05), the Zeus anaesthesia system also exerts expanded, automatic control of all anaesthetic gases that are well-suited for use in paediatric ventilation. The Zeus rebreathing system has one of the world's smallest system volumes. As a result, the system is particularly adapted for ventilating children and newborns. The automatic computer-assisted anaesthesia control (target controlled anaesthesia, TCA) has been available for adult anaesthesia for more than a year. Dräger Medical together with Dr. Josef Holzki and his staff at Cologne's Children's Hospital readied the TCA paediatric application for series production.

The automatic control delivers the exact quantity of anaesthetic gas specific to the patient and not only makes fast introduction and recovery of the anaesthetic possible, but also a stable depth of anaesthesia. This not only reduces anaesthetic costs, but also prevents children from dehydrating through the delivery of large quantities of dry gas. In other words, the total rebreathing (closed system) keeps the moisture physiologically required in the breathing air and reduces the risk of postoperative complications.

The general advantages of the TCA, i.e. computer-assisted, automatic anaesthesia control over previously entered target parameters, are documented in a new study (1). Most notably, the TCA control loop designs already engage with the ventilation modes from Zeus and thus reduce user-initiated "control interventions". This results in more time to devote to perioperative patient care.

Dr. Josef Holzki, Chief Physician in the Department for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Children's Hospital, Cologne, President of FEAPA and director of the clinical test phase of the new software solution, sees a "quantum leap in medical technology that for the first time makes it possible to even anaesthetise children weighing less than 3 kilograms like never before."

"Earlier," says Holzki, "the anaesthetist required a great deal of experience in paediatric care to calculate the amount of anaesthetic gas for these small patients. Finally, that has changed. After inputting the essential target parameters for the child, such as required anaesthesia gas and oxygen concentration, the Zeus anaesthesia system continually calculates the required quantity and composition of the anaesthetic gas to be delivered with the help of the current readings and patient data. Any differences between 'target' and 'actual' are immediately recognised and automatically corrected. Carbon dioxide is sufficiently washed in the closed system by continuous gas flow, thus eliminating the dead space problem with very small lung capacities."

1. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 2005; 94: 306-17.

For more information:
Dräger Medical:
6th European Congress of Paediatric Anaesthesia:

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