European Society of Anaesthesiology evidence-based and consensus-based guideline on postoperative delirium

Aldecoa, C. et al. (2017) European Journal of Anaesthesiology. 34(4) pp. 192-214

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Postoperative delirium (POD) is an adverse postoperative complication that can occur in patients of any age, from children to the elderly. Its incidence varies in the various age groups and is substantially influenced by patient-related risk factors that are variably distributed and differentially accumulate in the different age groups. Elderly patients are generally thought to be at higher risk because predisposing risk factors such as cognitive impairment, comorbidity, sensorial deficits, malnutrition, polymedication, impaired functional status and frailty (a condition that can only be observed among aged patients) accumulate and overlap with ageing.

Moreover, POD (refer to the specific definition in the ‘Paediatric patients’ section) is a common complication in children of pre-school age (5 to 7 years): whether this is due to age-related psychological issues or to additional inflammatory effects on the brain cannot currently be determined. There is a limited number of studies on cognitive outcomes in children. For the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently recommended cautious indications for anaesthesia and surgery in children aged less than 3 years. In Europe, the ESA launched an initiative, the EUROpean Safe Tots Anaesthesia Research (Eurostar) Initiative Task Force to promote translational research on anaesthesia neurotoxicity and long-term outcomes after paediatric anaesthesia and surgery.

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Publication Bias and Nonreporting Found in Majority of Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses in Anesthesiology Journals

Hedin, R. et al. (2016) Anesthesia & Analgesia. 123(4) pp.1018–1025

Background: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are used by clinicians to derive treatment guidelines and make resource allocation decisions in anesthesiology. One cause for concern with such reviews is the possibility that results from unpublished trials are not represented in the review findings or data synthesis. This problem, known as publication bias, results when studies reporting statistically nonsignificant findings are left unpublished and, therefore, not included in meta-analyses when estimating a pooled treatment effect. In turn, publication bias may lead to skewed results with overestimated effect sizes. The primary objective of this study is to determine the extent to which evaluations for publication bias are conducted by systematic reviewers in highly ranked anesthesiology journals and which practices reviewers use to mitigate publication bias. The secondary objective of this study is to conduct publication bias analyses on the meta-analyses that did not perform these assessments and examine the adjusted pooled effect estimates after accounting for publication bias.

Methods: This study considered meta-analyses and systematic reviews from 5 peer-reviewed anesthesia journals from 2007 through 2015. A PubMed search was conducted, and full-text systematic reviews that fit inclusion criteria were downloaded and coded independently by 2 authors. Coding was then validated, and disagreements were settled by consensus. In total, 207 systematic reviews were included for analysis. In addition, publication bias evaluation was performed for 25 systematic reviews that did not do so originally. We used Egger regression, Duval and Tweedie trim and fill, and funnel plots for these analyses.

Results: Fifty-five percent (n = 114) of the reviews discussed publication bias, and 43% (n = 89) of the reviews evaluated publication bias. Funnel plots and Egger regression were the most common methods for evaluating publication bias. Publication bias was reported in 34 reviews (16%). Thirty-six of the 45 (80.0%) publication bias analyses indicated the presence of publication bias by trim and fill analysis, whereas Egger regression indicated publication bias in 23 of 45 (51.1%) analyses. The mean absolute percent difference between adjusted and observed point estimates was 15.5%, the median was 6.2%, and the range was 0% to 85.5%.

Conclusions: Many of these reviews reported following published guidelines such as PRISMA or MOOSE, yet only half appropriately addressed publication bias in their reviews. Compared with previous research, our study found fewer reviews assessing publication bias and greater likelihood of publication bias among reviews not performing these evaluations.

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