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Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Sep;95(38):e4927. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000004927.

Comparison of the incidence of emergence agitation and emergence times between desflurane and sevoflurane anesthesia in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

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aDepartment of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine bInstitute for Evidence-Based Medicine, The Korean Branch of Australasian Cochrane Center, Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea.



The differences in the incidence and severity of emergence agitation (EA) and emergence times between desflurane and sevoflurane anesthesia have not been as clearly elucidated in children as in adults.


The design of the study is a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The study methodology is based on the Cochrane Review Methods. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify clinical trials comparing the incidence or severity of EA and emergence times in children anesthetized with desflurane or sevoflurane. Two reviewers independently assessed each study according to predefined inclusion criteria and extracted data from each study using a prespecified data extraction form. The data from each study were combined using a fixed effect or random effect model to calculate the pooled risk ratio (RR) or standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI). Funnel plots were used to assess publication bias. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were performed.


Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Among the 1196 patients in these 14 studies, 588 received desflurane anesthesia and 608 received sevoflurane anesthesia. The incidence of EA was comparable between the 2 groups (pooled RR = 1.21; 95% CI: 0.96-1.53; I = 26%), and so was the severity of EA (EA score) between the 2 groups (SMD = 0.12; 95% CI: -0.02 to 0.27; I = 0%). Extubation and awakening times were shorter in the desflurane group than in the sevoflurane group; the weighted mean differences were -2.21 (95% CI: -3.62 to -0.81; I = 93%) and -2.74 (95% CI: -3.80 to -1.69; I = 85%), respectively. No publication bias was found in the funnel plot. The subgroup analysis based on the type of EA scale showed a higher incidence of EA in the desflurane group than in the sevoflurane group in studies using 3-, 4-, or 5-point EA scales; the pooled RR was 1.38 (95% CI: 1.10-1.73; I = 37%).


The incidence and severity of EA were comparable between desflurane and sevoflurane anesthesia in children; however, emergence times, including extubation and awakening times, were shorter in desflurane anesthesia.

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