In horses undergoing volatile anaesthesia, does intraoperative alpha-2-agonist infusion improve recovery?



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There is an erratum to this paper published in Veterinary Evidence Vol 7, Issue 2 (2022):

PICO question

In horses undergoing volatile anaesthesia with isoflurane or sevoflurane, does administration of an alpha-2 agonist as a CRI compared to anaesthetic maintenance with volatile alone improve recovery quality?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research question


The number and type of study designs reviewed

Eight papers were critically appraised. All prospective, randomised clinical trials. 7/8 papers were blinded and 4/8 were crossover design

Strength of evidence


Outcomes reported

One paper investigating detomidine and one on romifidine showed no improvement in recovery quality. 3/3 medetomidine papers and 2/3 dexmedetomidine papers showed a significant improvement in recovery quality in the alpha-2 agonist CRI group


In a healthy horse undergoing general anaesthesia with isoflurane or sevoflurane maintenance, an intra-operative constant rate of infusion (CRI) of medetomidine and dexmedetomidine can lead to better recovery quality when compared to horses who are maintained on isoflurane or sevoflurane alone


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


Open Access Peer Reviewed


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Vol. 6 No. 1 (2021): The first issue of 2021

Section: Knowledge Summaries

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