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Perineural versus intravenous dexamethasone as an adjuvant in regional anesthesia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors Zhao WL, Ou XF, Liu J, Zhang WS

Received 28 March 2017

Accepted for publication 2 June 2017

Published 4 July 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 1529—1543


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Wen-Ling Zhao,1 Xiao-Feng Ou,1 Jin Liu,1,2 Wen-Sheng Zhang1,2

1Laboratory of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Translational Neuroscience Centre, 2Department of Anesthesiology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

Background: Dexamethasone is a common adjuvant for local anesthetics in regional anesthesia, but the optimal route of administration is controversial. Therefore, we did a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to assess the effect of perineural versus intravenous dexamethasone on local anesthetic regional nerve-blockade outcomes.
Materials and methods: Medline (through PubMed), Embase, Cochrane, Web of Science, and Biosis Previews databases were systematically searched (published from inception of each database to January 1, 2017) to identify randomized controlled trials. The data of the selected trials were statistically analyzed to find any significant differences between the two modalities. The primary outcome was the duration of analgesia. Secondary outcomes included duration of motor block, postoperative nausea and vomiting, and postoperative analgesic dose at 24 hours. We conducted a planned subgroup analysis to compare the effects between adding epinephrine or not.
Results: Ten randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria of our analysis, with a total of 749 patients. Without the addition of epinephrine, the effects of perineural and intravenous dexamethasone were equivalent concerning the duration of analgesia (mean difference 0.03 hours, 95% CI –0.17 to 0.24). However, with the addition of epinephrine, the analgesic duration of perineural dexamethasone versus intravenous dexamethasone was prolonged (mean difference 3.96 hours, 95% CI 2.66–5.27). Likewise, the impact of epinephrine was the same on the duration of motor block. The two routes of administration did not show any significant differences in the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting, nor on postoperative analgesic consumption at 24 hours.
Conclusion: Our results show that perineural dexamethasone can prolong the effects of analgesic duration when compared to the intravenous route, only when epinephrine is coadministered. Without epinephrine, the two modalities show equivalent effect as adjuvants on regional anesthesia.

Keywords: anesthesia adjuvants, dexamethasone, regional anesthesia

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