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Br J Anaesth. 2006 Aug;97(2):127-36. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Myocardial protection with volatile anaesthetic agents during coronary artery bypass surgery: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Alfred Hospital, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Previous studies have investigated the role of volatile anaesthetic agents in myocardial protection during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, and some have identified beneficial effects. However, these studies have been too small to identify a significant effect on myocardial infarction (MI) or mortality. We undertook a systematic overview and meta-analysis of all randomized trials comparing volatile with non-volatile anaesthesia in CABG surgery. We identified 27 trials that included 2979 patients. There was no significant difference in myocardial ischaemia, MI, intensive care unit length of stay or hospital mortality between the groups (all P>0.05). Post-bypass, patients randomized to receive volatile anaesthetics had 20% higher cardiac indices (P=0.006), significantly lower troponin I serum concentrations (P=0.002) and lesser requirement for inotropic support (P=0.004) compared with those randomized to receive i.v. anaesthetics. Duration of mechanical ventilation was reduced by 2.7 h (P=0.04), and there was a 1 day decrease in hospital length of stay (P<0.001). Some of these outcomes were based on a smaller number of trials because of incomplete data, largely because the individual trials focused on one or more surrogate endpoints. We found some evidence that volatile anaesthetic agents provide myocardial protection in CABG surgery, but larger adequately powered trials with agreed, defined outcomes need to be done to fully assess a possible beneficial effect of volatile anaesthetic agents on the risk of MI and mortality.

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