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JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Effects of anticholinergics on postoperative vomiting, recovery, and hospital stay in children undergoing tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy

A K Chhibber, S J Lustik, R Thakur, D R Francisco, K B Fickling
Anesthesiology 1999, 90 (3): 697-700
10078669

BACKGROUND: Nausea and vomiting are the most frequent problems after minor ambulatory surgical procedures. The agents used to induce and maintain anesthesia may modify the incidence of emesis. When neuromuscular blockade is antagonized with anticholinesterases, atropine or glycopyrrolate is used commonly to prevent bradycardia and excessive oral secretions. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of atropine and glycopyrrolate on postoperative vomiting in children.

METHODS: Ninety-three patients undergoing tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy were studied. After inhalation induction of anesthesia with nitrous oxide, oxygen, and halothane, anesthesia was maintained with a nitrous oxide-oxygen mixture, halothane, morphine, and atracurium. Patients were randomized to receive, in a double-blinded manner, either 15 microg/kg atropine or 10 microg/kg glycopyrrolate with 60 microg/kg neostigmine to reverse neuromuscular blockade. Patient recovery, the incidence of postoperative emesis, antiemetic therapy, and the duration of postoperative hospital stay were assessed.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences in age, gender, weight, or discharge time from the postanesthesia care unit or the hospital between the groups. Twenty-four hours after operation, the incidence of vomiting in the atropine group (56%) was significantly less than in the glycopyrrolate group (81%; P<0.05). There was no significant difference between the atropine and glycopyrrolate groups in the number of patients who required antiemetics or additional analgesics.

CONCLUSIONS: In children undergoing tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy, reversal of neuromuscular blockade with atropine and neostigmine is associated with a lesser incidence of postoperative emesis compared with glycopyrrolate and neostigmine.

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