THE CONSIDERATION of anesthesia for infants and young children implies a knowledge of some of the basic physiologic factors peculiar to this age group. There seems little doubt, for example, that the tiny infant is less sensitive to painful stimuli than the adult. For this reason lesser amounts of narcotizing drugs are required to produce favorable conditions for the surgeon. Likewise special thought must be devoted to the small respiratory tidal exchange in the young child. Ways and means must be found of maintaining good oxygenation during anesthesia while at the same time preventing accumulation of noxious carbon dioxide. Contemplation of the relatively weak respiratory musculature provokes plans of how the resistance in the anesthetic circuit can be reduced and initiates methods of actually assisting the respirations so as to lessen the burden on the child during the operative period.
The delicacy of the metabolic equilibrium in the child is