Respiratory adverse events in adults with COVID-19 undergoing general anaesthesia can be life-threatening. However, there remains a knowledge gap about respiratory adverse events in children with COVID-19. We created an international observational registry to collect airway management outcomes in children with COVID-19 who were having a general anaesthetic. We hypothesised that children with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 would experience more hypoxaemia and complications than those without. Between 3 April 2020 and 1 November 2020, 78 international centres participated. In phase 1, centres collected outcomes on all children (age ≤ 18 y) having a general anaesthetic for 2 consecutive weeks. In phase 2, centres recorded outcomes for children with test-confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (based on symptoms) having a general anaesthetic. We did not study children whose tracheas were already intubated. The primary outcome was the incidence of hypoxaemia during airway management. Secondary outcomes included: incidence of other complications; and first-pass success rate for tracheal intubation. In total, 7896 children were analysed (7567 COVID-19 negative and 329 confirmed or presumed COVID-19 positive). The incidence of hypoxaemia during airway management was greater in children who were COVID-19 positive (24 out of 329 (7%) vs. 214 out of 7567 (3%); OR 2.70 (95%CI 1.70–4.10)). Children who had symptoms of COVID-19 had a higher incidence of hypoxaemia compared with those who were asymptomatic (9 out of 51 (19%) vs. 14 out of 258 (5%), respectively; OR 3.7 (95%CI 1.5–9.1)). Children with confirmed or presumed COVID-19 have an increased risk of hypoxaemia during airway management in conjunction with general anaesthesia.
- airway adverse events
- tracheal intubation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine