• Can J Anaesth · May 2019


    Preoperative intravenous dexamethasone prevents tracheal intubation-related sore throat in adult surgical patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

    Intravenous dexamethasone reduces the incidence and severity of sore throat after endotracheal intubation.

    • Akira Kuriyama and Hirokazu Maeda.
    • Emergency and Critical Care Center, Kurashiki Central Hospital, 1-1-1 Miwa Kurashiki, Okayama, 710-8602, Japan. akira.kuriyama.jpn@gmail.com.
    • Can J Anaesth. 2019 May 1; 66 (5): 562-575.

    BackgroundPostoperative sore throat related to tracheal intubation negatively affects patient recovery and satisfaction. Previous reviews suggested that intravenous dexamethasone diminishes postoperative sore throat. Nevertheless, they comprised a small number of studies with inconsistencies in outcome reporting. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the efficacy and safety of preoperative intravenous dexamethasone in preventing postoperative sore throat in adult patients.MethodsWe searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from inception to August 24, 2018. We included randomized-controlled trials that assessed the efficacy and safety of intravenous dexamethasone in adult surgical patients who required general anesthesia and endotracheal intubation. Our primary outcomes were the incidence and severity of sore throat at 24 hr after surgery/extubation and adverse events. We pooled the data using a random-effects model. We conducted a trial sequential analysis (TSA) on the incidence of sore throat.ResultsWe included 15 randomized-controlled trials involving 1,849 patients. In comparison with non-analgesic methods, intravenous dexamethasone was associated with a reduced incidence (risk ratio, 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51 to 0.75) and severity (standardized mean difference, - 1.06; 95% CI, - 1.80 to - 0.33) of postoperative sore throat. Serious adverse events were not associated with intravenous dexamethasone administration in the four studies where this was assessed. The TSA indicated that the evidence regarding the incidence of postoperative sore throat is adequate.ConclusionsOur study indicates that preoperative intravenous administration of dexamethasone alleviates postoperative sore throat more effectively than non-analgesic methods.Trial RegistrationPROSPERO (CRD42018086697); registered 29 January, 2018.

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    Intravenous dexamethasone reduces the incidence and severity of sore throat after endotracheal intubation.

    Daniel Jolley  Daniel Jolley

    Why is this relevant?

    Sore throat following endotracheal intubation is common (reported in up to 68%), and along with postoperative nausea & vomiting, negatively impacts postoperative well-being.

    Small studies have previously suggested that IV dexamethasone reduces sore throat due to intubation. It is thought this occurs by reducing mucosal inflammation at the point of tracheal cuff contact, the presumed aetiology of the majority of post-ETT sore throat.

    Kuriyama and Maeda conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 15 RCTs totalling 1,849 patients.

    And they found?

    Preoperative dexamethasone IV (~4-10 mg across the studies) reduced the incidence of sore throat by almost 40% (RR 95% CI 0.51-0.75) and mean severity by 1.1 (SMD 95% CI 1.8-0.3).


    Given the established effectiveness of preoperative dexamethasone to safely reduce post-operative nausea and vomiting, this meta-analysis affirms another important indication for the routine use of dexamethasone in intubated patients who do not have contraindications to steroid use.

    Daniel Jolley  Daniel Jolley
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