The usefulness and safety of dexmedetomidine for postoperative sedation in pediatric patients with moyamoya disease

Fumiaki Kanamori MD, PhD1, Yoshio Araki MD, PhD1, Kinya Yokoyama MD, PhD1, Kenji Uda MD, PhD1, Michihiro Kurimoto MD, PhD1, Yoshiki Shiba MD1, Takashi Mamiya MD1, Kai Takayanagi MD1, Kazuki Ishii MD1, Masahiro Nishihori MD, PhD1, Takashi Izumi MD, PhD1, Sho Okamoto MD, PhD1, and Ryuta Saito MD, PhD1
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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan
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OBJECTIVE

After revascularization surgery in pediatric patients with moyamoya disease (MMD), resting and avoiding crying is important. However, this inaction is often difficult because of pain or anxiety. Dexmedetomidine (DEX), which has sedative and analgesic properties, may be useful in reducing those uncomfortable conditions; however, its common side effects include bradycardia and hypotension, which have a risk of decreasing the cerebral blood flow. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of using DEX for pediatric patients with MMD in the acute period after revascularization surgery.

METHODS

This retrospective study included pediatric patients with MMD who underwent revascularization surgery. Based on whether DEX was used for light sedation during postoperative days (PODs) 0–1 after extubation, the patients were divided into DEX or control groups. For neurological outcomes, the incidence of symptomatic cerebral infarction and transient neurological events (TNEs) during PODs 0–1 and the entire hospitalization were investigated. In addition, the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS) was used to assess the effect of DEX, and bradycardia and hypotension were evaluated as side effects.

RESULTS

A total of 84 surgical procedures were included in this study (27 in the DEX group and 57 in the control group). During PODs 0–1, symptomatic infarction was not observed in either group. The incidence of TNEs was almost the same in both groups: 2 (7.4%) of the 27 procedures in the DEX group and 4 (7.0%) of the 57 procedures in the control group (p > 0.99). Moreover, the incidences of symptomatic infarction and TNEs during the entire hospitalization did not differ significantly (symptomatic infarction, p > 0.99; TNEs, p = 0.20). Regarding the DEX effect, the median RASS scores during PODs 0–1 were −1.0 (drowsy) in the DEX group and +1.0 (restless) in the control group, showing a significant difference (p < 0.01). Regarding side effects, bradycardia was observed only in 3 (11.1%) of the 27 procedures in the DEX group (p = 0.03), and hypotension was not observed in any of the cases.

CONCLUSIONS

In pediatric patients with MMD who are extubated after revascularization surgery, DEX produced appropriate light sedation and analgesia. The risk for symptomatic infarction is almost the same in cases in which DEX is used and those in which it is not; however, neurosurgeons should be cautious of bradycardia and TNEs as potential side effects.

ABBREVIATIONS

DEX = dexmedetomidine; MCA = middle cerebral artery; MMD = moyamoya disease; POD = postoperative day; RASS = Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale; STA = superficial temporal artery; TNE = transient neurological event.

Illustration from Cinalli et al. (pp 330–341). Printed with permission from © CC Medical Arts.

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