Background: Common complications of pediatric strabismus surgery, including emergence agitation (EA), postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), and postoperative pain, may be prevented using dexmedetomidine, which is an anxiolytic and analgesic. This systematic review and meta-analysis assessed the effects of dexmedetomidine in patients who had undergone pediatric strabismus surgery. Method: Five databases were searched for randomized controlled trials published from database inception to April 2020 that compared dexmedetomidine use with placebo or active comparator use and evaluated EA, PONV, or postoperative pain incidence (main outcomes) in patients who had undergone pediatric strabismus surgery. Oculocardiac reflex (OCR) incidence and postanesthesia care unit (PACU) stay duration were considered as safety outcomes. All meta-analyses were performed using a random-effects model. Results: In the nine studies meeting our inclusion criteria, compared with placebo use, dexmedetomidine use reduced EA incidence [risk ratio (RR): 0.39; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.25-0.62, I2 = 66%], severe EA incidence (RR: 0.27, 95% CI: 0.17-0.43, I2 = 0%), PONV incidence (RR: 0.33, 95% CI: 0.21-0.54, I2 = 0%), analgesia requirement (RR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.25-0.57, I2 = 0%), and pain scores (standardized mean difference: −1.02, 95% CI: −1.44 to −0.61, I2 = 75%). Dexmedetomidine also led to lower EA incidence in the sevoflurane group than in the desflurane group (RR: 0.26 for sevoflurane vs. 0.45 for desflurane). Continuous dexmedetomidine infusion (RR: 0.19) led to better EA incidence reduction than did bolus dexmedetomidine infusion at the end of surgery (RR: 0.26) or during the peri-induction period (RR: 0.36). Compared with placebo use, dexmedetomidine use reduced OCR incidence (RR: 0.63; I2 = 40%). No significant between-group differences were noted for PACU stay duration. Conclusion: In patients who have undergone pediatric strabismus surgery, dexmedetomidine use may alleviate EA, PONV, and postoperative pain and reduce OCR incidence. Moreover, dexmedetomidine use does not affect the PACU stay duration.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0240553
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10 October 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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