Background: 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. Little information is available on the frequency of use in the pediatric surgical population. Methods: With institutional approval, a survey was conducted to assess the use of vitamins, nutritional supplements, or herbal or homeopathic preparations in children presenting for surgery in five geographically diverse centers in the USA. Results: A total of 894 completed surveys showed that overall, 3.5% of pediatric surgical patients had been given herbal or homeopathic medications in the 2 weeks prior to surgery. Most substances were prescribed by parents. The use of ihese medications did not differ between children with coexisting diseases and those without; use was also not different among ethnic groups or by residence setting (city, suburban, rural). There was a significant difference between the west coast centers in the study compared with the rest of the country (7.5% of patients in Palo Alto, CA; 5.5% of patients in Seattle, WA; 1.5% of patients in Chicago, IL; and 1.9% in Virginia and Delaware used herbal or homeopathic remedies). The most prevalent substance given to children presenting for elective surgery was Echinacea. Conclusions: Herbal and homeopathic medications are used by a small percentage of pediatric patients presenting for elective pediatric surgery patients. Use of these substances should be addressed in the preoperative history.
- Medication: herbal, Homeopathic
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine