Research: EVERETT and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 123


EVERETT and co-workers, Department of Anesthesiology, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, University of Washington, USA,, have surveyed the use of herbal and homeopathic medicines in children who present for surgery.


Patients who present for surgery may be using herbal or homeopathic preparations. Adverse effects of some of these substances include bleeding, cardiovascular changes, and liver dysfunction. The aim of this study was to survey the frequency of use of herbal medicines in the paediatric surgical population.


A survey was conducted to assess the use of vitamins, nutritional supplements, or herbal or homeopathic preparations in children presenting for surgery in five hospitals in the USA.


A total of 894 completed surveys showed that 3.5% of paediatric surgical patients had been given herbal or homeopathic medications in the 2 weeks prior to surgery. Most substances were prescribed by parents. There was a significant difference between the west coast hospitals in the study compared with the rest of the country (7.5% of patients in Palo Alto, CA; 5.5% of patients in acea.


Herbal and homeopathic medicines are used by a small percentage of paediatric patients presenting for elective paediatric surgery. Use of these substances should be addressed in the preoperative history.


Everett LL, Birmingham PK, Williams GD, Brenn BR, Shapiro JH. Herbal and homeopathic medication use in pediatric surgical patients. Paediatric Anaesthesia 15 (6): 455-460, Jun 2005.

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