Dexmedetomidine reduces intestinal and hepatic injury after hepatectomy with inflow occlusion under general anaesthesia: a randomized controlled trial

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We compared intestinal, hepatic, and other organ function after hepatic portal occlusion with or without dexmedetomidine administration under general anaesthesia.


In this prospective, randomized double-blind investigation, 44 patients undergoing elective hepatectomy with inflow occlusion were randomized into a dexmedetomidine group or a control group. The dexmedetomidine group received an initial dexmedetomidine loading dose of 1 μg kg−1 over 10 min followed by a maintenance dose of 0.3 μg kg−1 h−1. In the control group, 0.9% sodium chloride was administered. The primary outcome was serum diamine oxidase (DAO) activity reflecting intestinal injury. The secondary outcomes included variables reflecting intestinal, hepatic, kidney, and cardiopulmonary function, and biomarkers of oxidative stress and systemic inflammatory response.


DAO activity was lower in the dexmedetomidine group than in the control group at 6 and 24 h after liver reperfusion [9.77 (1.07) vs14.29 (1.43) units ml−1, P=0.021; 9.67 (0.98) vs 13.97 (1.31) units ml−1, P=0.017]. d-lactate acid levels were lower during 1–72 h after liver reperfusion compared with the control group (all P<0.05). Also, the intestinal injury severity grade was decreased by dexmedetomidine (P=0.038). The biomarkers reflecting liver injury increased over time, but were lower in the dexmedetomidine group (all P<0.05), while the variables reflecting cardiopulmonary and renal function showed no differences between the groups (all P>0.05).


Dexmedetomidine administered perioperatively attenuates intestinal and hepatic injury in patients undergoing elective liver resection with inflow occlusion without any potential risk.

Clinical trial registration.

ChiCTR-TRC-11001530, September 2011.

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