Intra-operative lidocaine in the prevention of vomiting after elective tonsillectomy in children: A randomised controlled trial

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Postoperative vomiting (POV) is a frequent complication of tonsillectomy in children. In adult patients undergoing abdominal surgeries, the use of intravenous lidocaine infusion can prevent POV.


To evaluate the anti-emetic effect of an intravenous lidocaine infusion used as an adjuvant to general anaesthesia, in children undergoing elective ear, nose and throat surgery.


Double-blind, randomised, controlled study.


Hospital-based, single-centre study in Chile.


ASA I-II children, aged 2 to 12 years, scheduled for elective tonsillectomy.


We standardised the induction and maintenance of anaesthesia. Patients were randomly allocated to lidocaine (1.5 mg kg−1 intravenous lidocaine over 5 min followed by 2 mg kg−1 h−1) or 0.9% saline (at the same rate and volume). Infusions were continued until the end of the surgery.


Presence of at least one episode of vomiting, retching or both in the first 24 h postoperatively (POV).


Plasma concentrations of lidocaine and postoperative pain.


Ninety-two children were enrolled. Primary outcome data were available for 91. In the Lidocaine group, 28 of 46 patients (60.8%) experienced POV, compared with 37 of 45 patients (82.2%) in the Saline group [difference in proportions 21.3% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.8 to 38.8), P = 0.024]. The intention-to-treat analysis showed that when we assumed that the patient in the Saline group lost to follow-up did not have POV, the difference in proportions decreased to 19.6% (95% CI, 0.9 to 37.2), with an unadjusted odds ratio of 0.38 (95% CI, 0.15 to 0.97, P = 0.044). The odds of having POV were 62% less likely in those patients receiving lidocaine compared with patients in the Saline group. The mean lidocaine plasma concentration was 3.91 μg ml−1 (range: 0.87 to 4.88).


Using an intravenous lidocaine infusion as an adjuvant to general anaesthesia decreased POV in children undergoing elective tonsillectomy.

TRIAL REGISTRATION Identifier: NCT01986309.

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