Perioperative intravenous dexamethasone for patients undergoing colorectal surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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PURPOSE: Dexamethasone is a glucocorticoid that is often administered intraoperatively as prophylaxis for postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have examined its use in colorectal surgery. This systematic review aims to assess the postoperative impacts of dexamethasone use in colorectal surgery. METHODS: MEDLINE, Embase, and CENTRAL were searched from database inception to January 2023. Articles were included if they compared perioperative intravenous dexamethasone to a control group in patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery in terms of postoperative morbidity. The primary outcomes were prolonged postoperative ileus (PPOI) and PONV. Secondary outcomes included postoperative infectious morbidity and return of bowel function. A pair-wise meta-analysis and GRADE assessment of the quality of evidence were performed. RESULTS: After reviewing 3476 relevant citations, seven articles (five RCTs, two retrospective cohorts) met the inclusion criteria. Overall, 1568 patients received perioperative dexamethasone and 1459 patients received a control. Patients receiving perioperative dexamethasone experienced significantly less PPOI based on moderate-quality evidence (three studies, OR 0.46, 95%CI 0.28-0.74, p < 0.01). Time to first flatus was significantly reduced with intravenous dexamethasone. There was no difference between groups in terms of PONV (four studies, OR 0.90, 95%CI 0.64-1.27, p = 0.55), postoperative morbidity (OR 0.93, 95%CI 0.63-1.39, p = 0.74), or rate of postoperative infectious complications (seven studies, OR 0.74, 95%CI 0.55-1.01, p = 0.06). CONCLUSION: This review presents moderate-quality evidence that perioperative intravenous dexamethasone may reduce PPOI and enhance the return of bowel function following elective colorectal surgery. There was no significant observed effect on PONV or postoperative infectious complications.
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