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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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The development of pediatric anesthesia and intensive care in Scandinavia

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  • Krister Nilsson
  • Barbro Ekström-Jodal
  • Olli Meretoja
  • Niels Valentin
  • Kari Wagner
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The initiation and development of pediatric anesthesia and intensive care have much in common in the Scandinavian countries. The five countries had to initiate close relations and cooperation in all medical disciplines. The pediatric anesthesia subspecialty took its first steps after the Second World War. Relations for training and exchange of experiences between Scandinavian countries with centers in Europe and the USA were a prerequisite for development. Specialized pediatric practice was not a full-time position until during the 1950s, when the first pediatric anesthesia positions were created. Scandinavian anesthesia developed slowly. In contrast, Scandinavia pioneered both adult and certainly pediatric intensive care. The pioneers were heavily involved in the teaching and training of anesthetists and nurses. This was necessary to manage the rapidly increasing work. The polio epidemics during the 1950s initiated a combination of clinical development and technical innovations. Blood gas analyses technology and interpretation in combination with improved positive pressure ventilators were developed in Scandinavia contributing to general and pediatric anesthesia and intensive care practice. Scandinavian specialist training and accreditation includes both anesthesia and intensive care. Although pediatric anesthesia/intensive care is not a separate specialty, an 'informal accreditation' for a specialist position is obtained after training. The pleasure of working in a relatively small group of devoted colleagues and staff has persisted from the pioneering years. It is still one of the most inspiring and pleasant gifts for those working in this demanding specialty.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPaediatric Anaesthesia
Volume25
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)453-9
Number of pages7
ISSN1155-5645
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

    Research areas

  • Anesthesiology, Child, Critical Care, History, 20th Century, Humans, Pediatrics, Scandinavian and Nordic Countries

ID: 46058119