Novel preoperative pharmacologic methods of preventing postoperative sore throat due to tracheal intubation

David M Kalil, Loraine S Silvestro, Paul N Austin
AANA Journal 2014, 82 (3): 188-97
Postoperative sore throat (POST) is usually self-limiting but was rated by patients as one of the top 10 most undesirable anesthetic outcomes. Pharmacologic interventions that have been suggested to decrease the incidence of POST include application of local anesthetics and corticosteroids to the cuff of the endotracheal tube. These interventions often require extra steps during induction of general anesthesia. We sought evidence for using nonsteroidal, nonlocal anesthetic, topical pharmacologic interventions conveniently implemented preoperatively to decrease the incidence of POST. One hundred seventeen potential evidence sources were located, with 11 randomized controlled trials meeting inclusion criteria. The evidence examined ketamine, aspirin, and azulene gargle; benzydamine gargle or oral spray; dexpanthenol pastilles; and lozenges containing amyl-m-cresol or magnesium. Although there were methodologic concerns with the studies, the evidence suggested that all the treatment medications decreased the incidence of POST at early and late intervals. The severity of POST was also typically reduced. Preoperative ketamine and aspirin gargle are probably the most promising for providers practicing in the United States. However, before these agents are recommended for general use, large multicenter trials should be done exploring not only efficacy but also dose-response relationships and side effects.

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