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Anesthesiology. 1992 Aug;77(2):245-51.

Evaluation of risk factors for laryngeal edema after tracheal extubation in adults and its prevention by dexamethasone. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter study.

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Département de Réanimation Médicale, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.


Because laryngeal edema (LE) after tracheal extubation is likely to result from an exudative response, corticosteroids often are given routinely as a preventive treatment. No adequate controlled study supports this strategy, however. A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial that included 700 consecutive patients requiring tracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation was conducted to determine risk factors for LE occurrence after tracheal extubation in adults and to evaluate the efficacy of corticosteroids in its prevention. One hour before extubation, patients were given either an intravenous bolus of 8 mg dexamethasone or a placebo. Patients were divided into two groups: 1) those in whom short-duration intubation (SDI, less than 36 h) was administered; and 2) those in whom long-duration intubation (LDI, more than 36 h) was administered. Minor LE was diagnosed when either stridor or laryngeal dyspnea, or both, occurred; major LE was diagnosed when reintubation due to LE was required, with LE evidenced during direct laryngoscopy. The overall incidence of LE was 4.2% and varied among the six participating centers from 2.3 to 6.9% (not significant). In only seven patients (1%), all with LDI, was tracheal reintubation required for LE. Laryngeal edema occurred more frequently after LDI than after SDI (7.2 vs. 0.9%; P less than 0.001). It also was more frequent in female than in male patients (20/284 vs. 8/379; P less than 0.05), irrespective of intubation duration and treatment. There was no association between LE and either difficulty/route of intubation or admission diagnosis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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