Canadian Journal of Anesthesia , Volume 66, Issue 5, pp 562–575
Postoperative 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.
We 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.
We 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.
Our study indicates that preoperative intravenous administration of dexamethasone alleviates postoperative sore throat more effectively than non-analgesic methods.