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Dexamethasone Dose and Early Postoperative Recovery after Mastectomy: A Double-blind, Randomized Trial

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BACKGROUND: Pain and nausea are the most common challenges in postoperative recovery after mastectomy. Preventive measures include multimodal analgesia with preoperative glucocorticoid. The aim of this study was to investigate whether 24 mg of preoperative dexamethasone was superior to 8 mg on early recovery after mastectomy in addition to a simple analgesic protocol.

METHODS: In a randomized, double-blind trial, patients 18 yr of age or older having mastectomy were randomized 1:1 to 24 mg or 8 mg dexamethasone, and all received a standardized anesthetic and surgical protocol with preoperative acetaminophen, total intravenous anesthesia, and local anesthetic wound infiltration. The primary endpoint was number of patients transferred to the postanesthesia care unit according to standardized discharge criteria (modified Aldrete score). Secondary endpoints included pain and nausea at extubation, transfer from the operating room and upon arrival at the ward, length of stay, seroma occurrence, and wound infections.

RESULTS: One hundred thirty patients (65 in each group) were included and analyzed for the primary outcome. Twenty-three (35%) in each group met the primary outcome, without significant differences in standardized discharge scores (odds ratio, 1.00 [95% CI, 0.49 to 2.05], P > 0.999). More patients had seroma requiring drainage in the 24 mg versus 8 mg group, 94% versus 81%, respectively (odds ratio, 3.53 [95% CI, 1.07 to 11.6], P = 0.030). Median pain scores were low at all measured time points, numeric rating scale less than or equal to 2 versus less than or equal to 1 in the 24 mg versus 8 mg group, respectively. Six patients in each group (9%) experienced nausea at any time during hospital stay (P > 0.999). Length of stay was median 11 and 9.2 h in the 24 and 8 mg group, respectively (P = 0.217).

CONCLUSIONS: The authors found no evidence of 24 mg versus 8 mg of dexamethasone affecting the primary outcome regarding immediate recovery after mastectomy. The authors observed a short length of stay and low pain scores despite a simple analgesic protocol.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnesthesiology
Volume132
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)678-691
Number of pages14
ISSN0003-3022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

ID: 59115800