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  • Wang M
  • Che JX
  • Chen L
  • Song TT
  • Qu JT
Chin Med Sci J. 2024 Mar;39(1):54-68 doi: 10.24920/004294.

Patients undergoing spine surgery (21 randomised controlled trials, n= 1,388).


Dexmedetomidine (Dex).




This meta-analysis revealed a negative effect of Dex on haemodynamics. Dex increased the risk of hypotension and bradycardia during spine surgery, while it did not reduce intraoperative blood loss. The risk of hypotension and bradycardia was higher with the use of a loading dose in combination with a maintenance dose than using a maintenance dose alone. Dex was more likely to cause severe hypotension rather than mild hypotension. In terms of heart rate reduction, the incidence of both mild and severe bradycardia increased.

Objective Dexmedetomidine (Dex) is a highly selective α2 adrenoceptor agonist that reduces blood pressure and heart rate. However, its ability to provide stable hemodynamics and a clinically significant reduction in blood loss in spine surgery is still a matter of debate. This study aimed to investigate the effects of Dex on intraoperative hemodynamics and blood loss in patients undergoing spine surgery.Methods The Web of Science, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched up to February 2023 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including patients undergoing spine surgeries under general anaesthesia and comparing Dex and saline. A fixed- or random-effect model was used depending on heterogeneity.Results Twenty-one RCTs, including 1388 patients, were identified. Dex added the overall risk of intraoperative hypotension (odds ratio [OR]: 2.11; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.24 - 3.58; P=0.006) and bradycardia (OR: 2.48; 95%CI: 1.57 - 3.93; P=0.0001). The use of a loading dose of Dex led to significantly increased risks of intraoperative hypotension (OR: 2.00; 95%CI: 1.06 - 3.79; P=0.03) and bradycardia (OR: 2.28; 95%CI: 1.42 - 3.66; P=0.0007). For patients receiving total intravenous anesthesia, there was an increased risk of hypotension (OR: 2.90; 95%CI: 1.24 - 6.82; P=0.01) and bradycardia (OR: 2.66; 95%CI: 1.53 - 4.61; P=0. 0005). For patients in the inhalation anesthesia group, only an increased risk of bradycardia (OR: 4.95; 95%CI: 1.41 - 17.37; P=0.01) was observed. No significant increase in the risk of hypotension and bradycardia was found in the combined intravenous-inhalation anesthesia group. The incidence of severe hypotension (OR: 2.57; 95%CI: 1.05 - 6.32; P=0.04), but not mild hypotension, was increased. Both mild (OR: 2.55; 95%CI: 1.06 - 6.15; P=0.04) and severe (OR: 2.45; 95%CI: 1.43 - 4.20; P=0.001) bradycardia were associated with a higher risk. The overall analyses did not reveal significant reduction in intraoperative blood loss. However, a significant decrease in blood loss was observed in total inhalation anesthesia subgroup (mean difference [MD]: -82.97; 95%CI: -109.04 - -56.90; P<0.001).Conclusions Dex increases the risks of intraoperative hypotension and bradycardia in major spine surgery. The administration of a loading dose of Dex and the utilization of various anesthesia maintenance methods may potentially impact hemodynamic stability and intraoperative blood loss.