Effects of hypercapnia versus normocapnia during general anesthesia on outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology




Abstract Background The effect of mild changes in CO2 levels to organ perfusion and tissue inflammation are well known, whereas an influence of hypercapnia under general anesthesia on adverse events as nausea and vomiting, or length of hospital stay is barely examined. The goal of our meta-analysis was to identify possibly positive effects of hypercapnia versus normocapnia in general anesthesia in adult patients. Methods We conducted a systematic review of parallel-arm randomised controlled trials comparing hypercapnia versus normocapnia in adult patients undergoing general anesthesia. In July 2018 and September 2019 we searched “CENTRAL”, “MEDLINE”, and “Embase”, checked reference lists of all included studies and relevant systematic reviews for additional references to trials. Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion, extracted data, and completed a “Risk of bias” assessment for all included studies. Results Our search identified 297 records after abstract screening 30 full-text papers remained for further examination. Ten publications met our inclusion criteria and were used for narrative description of this systematic review. Three studies were eligible for the meta-analysis normocapnia versus hypercapnia with the outcomes: time to extubation and adverse events. On average, time to extubation was significantly reduced in the hypercapnia group with a mean difference 3.78 (95% CI 0.85 to 6.71). No difference was found regarding adverse events. Conclusions The findings of our study do not enable us to produce evidence of a positive influence of increased CO2 partial pressure levels during general anesthesia. A well-planned, adequately powered randomized controlled trial would be desirable in the future.

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