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Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials Focusing on Prevention of the Postpericardiotomy Syndrome

      The natural history of postpericardiotomy syndrome (PPS), a relatively common complication of cardiac surgery, varies from mild self-limited episodes to cases with protracted courses, recurrences, and readmissions. Preventive strategies may be valuable to decrease morbidity and management costs. We thus aimed to conduct a comprehensive systematic review on available data for pharmacologic primary prevention of PPS. Controlled clinical studies were searched in several databases and were included provided they focused on pharmacologic primary prevention of PPS. Random-effect odds ratios (ORs) were computed for occurrence of PPS. From the initial sample of 343 citations, 4 controlled clinical trials for primary prevention of PPS were finally included (894 patients); 3 studies were double-blind randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Treatment comparisons were colchicine versus placebo (2 RCTs enrolling 471 patients), methylprednisolone versus placebo (1 RCT on 246 pediatric patients), and aspirin versus historical controls (1 nonrandomized study on 177 pediatric patients). Meta-analytic pooling showed that colchicine was associated with decreased risk of PPS (OR 0.38, 0.22 to 0.65). Data on methylprednisolone (OR 1.13, 0.57 to 2.25) or aspirin (OR 1.00, 0.16 to 6.11) were negative but inconclusive because these were based on 1 study and/or a nonrandomized design. In conclusion, clinical evidence for primary prevention of PPS is still limited to few studies of variable quality. Nevertheless, available data suggest a beneficial profile for colchicine and open a new therapeutic strategy for prevention of PPS.
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