Effect of pharmacological agents administered for attenuating the extubation response on the quality of extubation: A systematic review

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Background: Several drugs have been tried to obtund the hemodynamic extubation response but all have variable side effects that may affect the quality of short-term recovery.
Objective: Our primary objective was to evaluate the effect of pharmacological agents, such as dexmedetomidine, local anesthetics, and so on, administered for attenuating the extubation response on the quality of extubation, as judged by the presence or absence of cough, sedation, and laryngospasm/bronchospasm in adult patients who had undergone general anesthesia. A secondary objective was to evaluate the effect of these drugs on other immediate post-extubation complications such as respiratory depression, desaturation, bradycardia, hypotension, and nausea and vomiting (PONV).
Methods: This is a systematic review of (randomized controlled trials) RCTs with meta-analysis. The Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) databases were searched for RCTs on the effect of pharmacological agents on both the hemodynamic extubation response as well as the quality of extubation.
Results: Fourteen out of 24 included studies were subjected to a meta-analysis. The risk of cough was less likely in the intervention group as compared to control groups (OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.46, p2=35%). Sedation, hypotension (OR= 10.47; 95% CI: 1.86, 58.80, p=0.008, I2=0%), and bradycardia (OR= 6.57; 95% CI: 2.09, 20.64, p=0.001, I2=0%) were reported with dexmedetomidine. Only one study reported laryngospasm with dexmedetomidine and two studies with opioids.
Conclusion: Dexmedetomidine 0.4 to 0.5 ug/kg was associated with smooth extubation, minimal coughing, no laryngospasm/ bronchospasm, and with stable hemodynamics, without causing respiratory depression, PONV, and desaturation. However, in higher doses (more than 0.5 ug/kg), it caused bradycardia, hypotension, and sedation. Other pharmacological agents, such as local anesthetics, calcium channel blockers, and opioids, did not attenuate cough associated with extubation.


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