Effect of Dexmedetomidine on Duration of Mechanical Ventilation in Septic Patients

A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Peifen Chen; Jihong Jiang; Yunhe Zhang; Guobao Li; Zhihui Qiu; Mitchell M. Levy; Baoji Hu


BMC Pulm Med. 2020;20(42) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Because of its analgesic and light sedative properties, the highly selective alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonist dexmedetomidine (DEX) has been suggested for the treatment of septic patients, but its effect on the duration of mechanical ventilation remains unclear. The present study was conducted to review the extant literature in DEX and determine its influence on ventilation time in adult septic patients.

Methods: Databases of PubMed, Cochrane, and EMBASE were applied till 20th January 2019 without language restriction. The searching strategy as following: sepsis OR septic AND mechanical ventilation AND dexmedetomidine. Two authors screened titles, abstracts, and even articles to meet the including criterion independently. In addition, references of related articles or reviews were also referred. Data was recorded in a table and analyzed using the software of Review Manager 5.0.

Results: Four studies with a total of 349 patients were included. Three trials with 267 patients revealed the effect of DEX on duration of mechanical ventilation, two trials with 264 patients on ventilator-free days and four trials with 334 patients on 28-day mortality. The analyzed results indicated that DEX was not associated with significantly different durations of mechanical ventilation (MD 0.65, 95% CI, − 0.13 to 1.42, P = 0.10). However, there were significant differences in ventilator-free days (MD 3.57, 95% CI, 0.26 to 6.89, P = 0.03) and 28-day mortality (RR 0.61, 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.94, P = 0.02) in the septic patients.

Conclusion: Administration of DEX for sedation in septic patients was not associated with the duration of mechanical ventilation, but it increased the ventilator-free days and reduced 28-day mortality.