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Dexmedetomidine improves early postoperative neurocognitive disorder in elderly male patients undergoing thoracoscopic lobectomy

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Perioperative neurocognitive disorder (PND) is a common complication following thoracic surgery that frequently occurs in patients ≥65 years. PND includes postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) and postoperative delirium (POD). To investigate whether intravenous dexmedetomidine (DEX) is able to improve neurocognitive function in elderly male patients following thoracoscopic lobectomy, a randomized, doubleblinded, placebocontrolled trial was performed at the Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical University (Hohhot, China). Patients aged ≥65 years were enrolled and were subjected to thoracic surgery under general anesthesia. A computergenerated randomization sequence was used to randomly assign patients (at a 1:1 ratio) to receive either intravenous DEX (0.5 µg/kg per h, from induction until chest closure) or placebo (intravenous normal saline). The primary endpoint was the result of the MiniMental State Examination (MMSE). The secondary endpoints were the results of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and those obtained with the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), as well as the incidence of POCD and POD during the first 7 postoperative days. Other observational indexes included sleep quality at night, selfanxiety scale prior to the operation and 7 days following the operation and the visual analogue scale (VAS) score at rest and during movement on the first and third day following the operation. Furthermore, at 6 h following surgery, the MMSE score in the DEX group was significantly higher than that in the saline group. At 6 h and on the first day postoperatively, the MoCA score in the DEX group was significantly higher than that in the saline group. The incidence of POCD and POD in the DEX group was 13.2 and 7.5%, respectively, while that in the saline group was 35.8 and 11.3%, respectively. There was a significant difference in the incidence of POCD between the two groups (P<0.01). In the DEX group, mean sleep quality was increased, whereas the mean VAS was decreased compared with the corresponding values in the saline group. In conclusion, elderly male patients who underwent thoracoscopic lobectomy under continuous infusion of DEX (0.5 µg/kg/h) exhibited a reduced incidence of POCD during the first 7 postoperative days as compared with the placebo group. Furthermore, DEX improved the subjective sleep quality in the first postoperative night, reduced anxiety and alleviated postoperative pain. In addition, it increased the incidence of bradycardia. The present study was registered in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (; registration no. ChiCTRIPR17010958).
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Anesthesia and Operation Center, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, P.R. China 2: Department of Anesthesiology, The Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical University, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia 010050, P.R. China

Publication date: October 1, 2020

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  • Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine aims to ensure the expedient publication, in both print and electronic format, of studies relating to biology, gene therapy, infectious disease, microbiology, molecular cardiology and molecular surgery. The journal welcomes studies pertaining to all aspects of molecular medicine, and studies relating to in vitro or in vivo experimental model systems relevant to the mechanisms of disease are also included.

    All materials submitted to this journal undergo the appropriate review via referees who are experts in this field. All materials submitted follow international guidelines with regard to approval of experiments on humans and animals.
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