Clinical Anesthesiology

Caring for children, training anesthesiologists and preparing practitioners of pediatric anesthesiology has been the role of this Division for over 50 years.

Our pediatric anesthesiologists care for children of all ages who have a wide range of medical conditions – from fragile newborns and babies with surgical emergencies to children with birth defects and life-threatening diseases.

Family members have the opportunity to meet with their child’s anesthesiologist before surgery, when he or she will explain the process of anesthesia and answer questions. Parents or guardians also can be present when anesthesia is given and when the child wakes after surgery.

  • About the Department
  • Training and Education
  • Patient and Family Resources

Our Anesthesiologists practice in 15 new, state-of-the-art operating rooms in the Main O.R. and 4 new operating rooms in our Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC). Each room is outfitted with the most advanced anesthesia equipment available.

Patient documentation is performed through a fully automated, online computerized system. The preoperative and intraoperative records are integrated. The practice is further supported by annual Division retreats for leadership training, planning and problem resolution.

Education for Residents

The Division of Anesthesiology at Children's Hospital Los Angeles trains approximately 120 Residents annually from throughout Southern California, as well as Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist (SRNA) trainees. The Fellowship Program attracts applicants from across the United States and internationally. A comprehensive educational curriculum compliments the various clinical rotations.

Anesthesiology Education

In addition to providing leadership in training pediatric anesthesiologists, the Division has also taken a leading role in providing education to anesthesia practitioners across the United States.

The annual Clinical Conference in Pediatric Anesthesiology  is the oldest continuous pediatric anesthesia program in North America. 

Consensus Statement on the Use of Anesthetic and Sedative Drugs in Infants and Toddlers


Each year, millions of infants and toddlers require anesthesia and/or sedation for surgery, procedures, and tests. Concern has been raised about the safety of the medicines used for anesthesia and sedation in young children. This concern is based on research in animals demonstrating long-term, possibly permanent, injury to the developing brain caused by exposure to these medicines. This injury results in abnormalities in behavior, learning, and memory in animals. The effect of exposure to anesthetic drugs in young children is unknown; however, some but not all studies have suggested that problems similar to those seen in animals could also occur in infants and toddlers. It is important to recognize that the studies in children suggest that similar deficits may occur. These studies in children have limitations that prevent experts from understanding whether the harmful effects were due to the anesthetic drugs or to other factors such as the surgery or related illness. Better research is required to understand whether children are harmed and if so, what alternative medicines might be used to minimize risk from anesthesia. Because there is not enough information about the effects of anesthetic drugs on the brains of young children, it is not yet possible to know whether use of these medicines poses a risk, and if so, whether the risk is large enough to outweigh the benefit of the planned surgery, procedure, or test.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that repeated or lengthy use (greater than 3 hours) of general anesthetic and sedation drugs during surgeries or procedures in children younger than 3 years or in pregnant women during their third trimester may affect the development of children’s brains.

Should my child’s surgery be delayed?

The current consensus supported by organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA), states that elective surgery in children should be undertaken only if the benefits outweigh the risks for surgery and anesthesia. Until there is more definitive data it would be unethical to withhold anesthesia from children undergoing necessary surgeries and procedures. Furthermore, delaying essential surgery can have other detrimental effects on your child and should be discussed with your care provider who is familiar with your child’s unique medical condition(s).

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