Emergency use of sugammadex after failure of standard reversal drugs and postoperative pulmonary complications: A retrospective cohort study

Melanio Bruceta, Preet M. Singh, Anthony Bonavia, Zyad J. Carr, Kunal Karamchandani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: The use of sugammadex instead of neostigmine for the reversal of neuromuscular blockade may decrease postoperative pulmonary complications. It is unclear if this finding is applicable to situations where sugammadex is administered after the administration of neostigmine. The objective of this study was to compare the incidence of a composite outcome measure of major postoperative pulmonary complications in patients who received sugammadex as a rescue agent after neostigmine versus those who received sugammadex alone for reversal of neuromuscular blockade. Material and Methods: This retrospective cohort study analyzed the medical records of adult patients who underwent elective inpatient noncardiac surgery under general anesthesia and received sugammadex for reversal of neuromuscular blockade, at a tertiary care academic hospital between August 2016 and November 2018. Results: A total of 1,672 patients were included, of whom 1,452 underwent reversal with sugammadex alone and 220 received sugammadex following reversal with neostigmine/glycopyrrolate. The composite primary outcome was diagnosed in 60 (3.6%) patients. Comparing these two groups, and after adjusting for confounding factors, patients who received sugammadex after reversal with neostigmine had more postoperative pulmonary complications than those reversed with sugammadex alone (6.8% vs. 3.1%, odds ratio, 2.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.25 to 4.18; P = 0.006). Conclusion: The use of sugammadex following reversal with neostigmine was associated with a higher incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications as compared to the use of sugammadex alone. The implications of using sugammadex after the failure of standard reversal drugs should be investigated in prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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