Objective: The study was done to investigate the postoperative anti-inflammatory effects of dexmedetomidine (DEX) in various surgical procedures.
Methods: A search of randomized placebo-controlled trials for intra-operative DEX use in adults was conducted. The primary outcome was postoperative concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α); secondary outcomes were: intra- and post-operative hypotension and bradycardia.
Results: A total of seven randomized controlled trials involving 424 patients with different types of surgeries were analysed. The pooled standardized mean difference (SMDs) were -0.33 (95% CI:-0.41, -0.25, p < 0.001) and -0.22 (95% CI:-0.35, -0.09, p = 0.001) for TNF-α, -51.02 (95% CI:-52.83, -49.21, p < 0.001) and -19.67 (95% CI:-21.15, -18.19, p < 0.001) for IL-6 at the end of surgery and the first day after surgery, respectively.
Conclusion: This meta-analysis showed that intra-operative DEX reduces postoperative concentrations of IL-6 and TNF-α at the end of surgery and the first day after surgery. Future studies should further explore the anti-inflammatory effects of DEX in detail.