alexa N-acetylcysteine in cardiac surgery: do the benefits outweigh the risks? A meta-analytic reappraisal.


Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology

Author(s): Wang G, Bainbridge D, Martin J, Cheng D

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Abstract OBJECTIVE: N-acetylcysteine (NAC) reduces proinflammatory cytokines, oxygen free-radical production, and ameliorates ischemia reperfusion injury; therefore, it may theoretically reduce postoperative complications in cardiac surgery. The aim of this study was to determine, through systematic review and meta-analysis of all relevant randomized trials, whether NAC reduces mortality, morbidity, or resource utilization in cardiac surgery. DESIGN: Meta-analysis. SETTING: University hospitals. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1,407 patients from 15 randomized studies were included in the analysis. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: All randomized trials searched up to May 2009 comparing the use of NAC versus placebo during cardiac surgery in any language and reporting at least 1 predefined outcome were included. The random effect model was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs, 95\% confidence intervals [CIs]) and weighted mean differences (WMD, 95\% CI) for dichotomous and continuous variables, respectively. During cardiac surgery, the use of NAC did not significantly decrease acute renal failure requiring renal replacement therapy (OR = 1.05; 95\% CI, 0.52-2.11; p = 0.90), new atrial fibrillation (OR = 0.67; 95\% CI, 0.37-1.22; p = 0.19), or mortality (OR = 0.81; 95\% CI, 0.39-1.68; p = 0.57). There were no differences in the incidence of incremental increase in serum creatinine concentration greater than 25\% above baseline (OR = 0.86; 95\% CI, 0.66-1.12; p = 0.26), acute myocardial infarction (OR = 0.69; 95\% CI, 0.29-1.61, p =0.39), stroke (OR = 0.78; 95\% CI, 0.30-2.03; p = 0.61), red blood cell transfusion requirement (OR = 0.77; 95\% CI, 0.45-1.31; p = 0.33), re-exploration (OR = 1.33; 95\% CI, 0.70-2.26; p = 0.29), or postoperative drainage (WMD = 33 mL; 95\% CI,-125 to 191 mL; p = 0.69) between NAC and placebo. CONCLUSION: Current evidence shows that the perioperative use of NAC has no proven benefit or risk on clinically important outcomes in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This article was published in J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology

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