Sugammadex and neostigmine are routinely used to reverse residual neuromuscular blocks at the end of surgery. Sugammadex has been linked with prolongation of laboratory coagulation markers, but clinical relevance on postoperative blood loss and transfusions remains unclear.
In this retrospective, single-center, cohort study, we analyzed medical records of adult patients having noncardiac surgery who were given sugammadex or neostigmine from May 2016 to December 2020. Our primary outcome was the incidence of any postoperative transfusion of red blood cells, and/or fresh-frozen plasma, and/or platelets. Secondary outcomes were duration of hospitalization, need for resurgery, and postoperative intensive care unit (ICU) admission. After propensity score weighting, the odds ratio (OR) for postoperative transfusion was assessed in both groups (sugammadex versus neostigmine) using a generalized estimation equation to count within-subject correlation weighted by the inverse propensity score.
Out of 39,325 eligible surgeries, 33,903 surgeries in 29,062 patients were included in the analysis; with 4581 patients receiving sugammadex and 29,322 patients receiving neostigmine. The raw incidence of postoperative transfusion was 7.40% in sugammadex and 7.45% in the neostigmine group. After weighting by propensity score, the incidence of postoperative transfusion was 8.01% in the sugammadex and 7.38% in the neostigmine group (OR, 1.11 [95% confidence interval [CI], 0.97–1.26; P = .118]). There was no difference in duration of hospitalization and need for resurgery, but odds of postoperative ICU admission were significantly higher for patients receiving sugammadex than those receiving neostigmine (OR, 1.33 [98.33% CI, 1.17–1.52; P < .0001]). Our a priori planned analysis of coagulation laboratory parameters could not be completed because of a high amount of missing laboratory data.
There is no statistically significant nor clinically important difference in the risk of postoperative transfusion in patients receiving sugammadex or neostigmine.