Prophylactic dexamethasone decreases the incidence of sore throat and hoarseness after tracheal extubation with a double-lumen endobronchial tube

Sang-Hyun Park, Sung-Hee Han, Sang-Hwan Do, Jung-Won Kim, Ka-young Rhee, Jin-Hee Kim
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2008, 107 (6): 1814-8

BACKGROUND: Postoperative sore throat and hoarseness are common complications after tracheal intubation, particularly after using a double-lumen endobronchial tube (DLT). We conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy of dexamethasone for reducing the incidence and severity of postoperative sore throat and hoarseness.

METHODS: One hundred sixty-six patients (aged 18-75 yr) scheduled for thoracic surgery with a DLT were enrolled. Before induction of general anesthesia, 0.1 mg/kg dexamethasone (Group D1), 0.2 mg/kg dexamethasone (Group D2), or a placebo (Group P) were infused i.v. in a double-blind and prospectively randomized manner. Glottic exposure as defined by Cormack and Lehane score, resistance to DLT insertion, number of intubation attempts, time to achieve intubation, and the duration of tracheal intubation were recorded. At 1 h and 24 h after tracheal extubation, the patients were evaluated for sore throat and hoarseness using a visual analog scale (VAS; where 0 = no pain and 100 = worst pain imaginable).

RESULTS: One hour after tracheal extubation, the incidence of postoperative sore throat and hoarseness, along with the severity of sore throat were lower in Group D1 (31%, P = 0.021; 11%, P = 0.003; and VAS 12.4, P < 0.001, respectively) and D2 (11%, P = 0.001; 4%, P = 0.001; and VAS 6.6, P < 0.001, respectively) compared with Group P (53%, 36% and VAS 30.9, respectively). Twenty-four hours after tracheal extubation, the incidence of postoperative sore throat, hoarseness, and the severity of sore throat were significantly lower in Group D2 (27%, P = 0.002; 15%, P = 0.001; and VAS 29.9, P < 0.002, respectively) compared with Group D1 (47%, 31%, and VAS = 43.9, respectively) and Group P (57%, 45%, and VAS = 51.3, respectively). There was no complication associated with the dexamethasone administration.

CONCLUSION: The prophylactic use of 0.2 mg/kg of dexamethasone significantly decreases the incidence and severity of sore throat and hoarseness 1 h and 24 h after tracheal extubation of a DLT.

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