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Opioid-Sparing Anesthesia Versus Opioid-Free Anesthesia for the Prevention of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting after Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis.

BACKGROUND: Patients who undergo laparoscopic bariatric surgery (LBS) are susceptible to postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Opioid-free anesthesia (OFA) or opioid-sparing anesthesia (OSA) protocols have been proposed as solutions; however, differences between the 2 alternative opioid protocols for anesthesia maintenance in obese patients remain uncertain. A network meta-analysis was conducted to compare the impacts of OFA and OSA on PONV.

METHODS: Systematic searches were conducted using Embase, PubMed, MEDLINE, and Cochrane Library databases to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing OFA and OSA strategies. After screening according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, we used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system to assess the credibility of the evidence. The main concern of this review was the difference between OFA and OSA in reducing PONV. The primary outcome was any PONV occurrence within 24 hours. Secondary outcomes included postoperative pain intensity, opioid consumption, opioid-related adverse events, and length of hospital stay.

RESULTS: Fifteen RCTs involving 1310 patients were identified for a network meta-analysis from 1776 articles that compared OFA, OSA, and traditional opioid-based anesthesia (OBA) strategies in LBS. Twelve RCTs (80%) with 922 participants (70%) were eligible for the occurrence of PONV. These included 199 (22%) patients who received OFA and 476 (52%) and 247 (27%) patients who received OSA and OBA, respectively. OFA was more effective at reducing PONV (relative risks [RR], 0.6, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.5-0.9, moderate-quality evidence) compared to OSA. No differences were observed in postoperative pain control or opioid consumption between the OFA and OSA strategies (very low-to high-quality evidence). Notably, OFA is associated with a higher risk of bradycardia than OSA (RR, 2.6, 95% CI, 1.2-5.9, moderate-quality evidence).

CONCLUSIONS: OFA is more effective than OSA in reducing the occurrence of PONV during the early postoperative period of LBS, although it may associate with an increased risk of bradycardia. Patients who received either opioid-alternative strategy demonstrated similar effects in reducing postoperative opioid consumption and alleviating pain intensity.

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