This was a prospective, single‐center, double‐blind, randomized study. The primary outcome was the presence or absence of emergence delirium with and without dexmedetomidine. Secondary outcomes were emergence delirium severity, time to extubation, cardiovascular stability, and need for additional postoperative analgesia. Eligible were children 3‐14 years of age, ASA I or II, scheduled for tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy. Patients were randomized to receive dexmedetomidine 1 mcg kg−1 or a volume matched normal saline solution. Presence of emergence delirium and agitation severity was assessed with the Watcha scale 10, 20, and 30 minutes after arrival in the postanesthesia care unit.
Sixty children participated to the study, 31 (51.7%) of them were treated with dexmedetomidine. Their mean age was 6.2 years (SD 5.5). Duration of anesthesia and surgery and blood pressure measurements did not differ between groups. Extubation time was not different between groups. The dexmedetomidine group had a significantly lower frequency of emergence delirium compared with no dexmedetomidine after 20 and 30 minutes in postanesthesia care unit: 16.1% and 12.9% at 20 and 30 minutes in the dexmedetomidine group vs 48.3% and 41.4% in in the no dexmedetomidine group.
Dexmedetomidine 1 mcg kg−1 reduces the incidence and severity of emergence delirium after tonsillectomy with propofol anesthesia without prolonging the extubation time.
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