Young age is considered as one of the factors associated with emergence agitation (EA) following sevoflurane anesthesia. The relationship between EA following propofol anesthesia and young age has not yet been examined. This study was designed to compare the incidence of EA in younger children and older children following either propofol or sevoflurane anesthesia.
Ninety-six preschool-aged (2–5 years) children and 90 school-aged (6–11 years) children (American Society of Anesthesiologists [ASA] I or II) scheduled to undergo otorhinolaryngological surgery were randomly assigned to receive either propofol or sevoflurane. These children were divided into the following four groups: propofol-preschool (P-pre), sevoflurane-preschool (S-pre), propofol-school (P-school), and sevoflurane-school (S-school) groups. Recovery times and incidence of EA were compared among the four groups.
We observed that the recovery times were similar in the four groups. After extubation, the incidence of EA in the S-pre group was significantly higher than that in the other groups. After eye opening, the incidence of EA in the S-pre and S-school groups was significantly higher than that in the P-pre or P-school groups. At all recovery times, no difference was observed in the incidence of EA between the P-pre and P-school groups.
Propofol, in comparison with sevoflurane, resulted in a lower incidence of EA, with no relation to age.