Emergence agitation (EA) is a common complication in pediatric patients after general anesthesia. The effectiveness of magnesium sulfate in decreasing the incidence of EA in children remains controversial. Therefore, a systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to assess the efficacy of magnesium sulfate in preventing EA in pediatric patients following general anesthesia.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library were searched to identify eligible randomized controlled trials from their respective database inception dates to June 30, 2021.
Pediatric patients (< 18 years old) undergoing general anesthesia.
Intravenous administration of magnesium sulfate.
The primary outcome of the meta-analysis was EA incidence. The risk of bias of the included studies was evaluated using the revised Cochrane risk of bias tool for randomized trials (RoB 2.0). Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation was applied to assess the level of certainty.
Eight studies with 635 participants were identified. The forest plot revealed no significant difference in the incidence of EA between patients treated with magnesium sulfate and the control group (risk ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval [0.44, 1.07]; P = 0.10, I = 74%, moderate level of certainty). Additionally, magnesium sulfate did not reduce postoperative pediatric anesthesia emergence delirium scores but prolonged the emergence time. No significant differences were observed in postoperative complications (nausea, vomiting, laryngospasm, breath-holding, coughing, oxygen desaturation, and cardiac arrhythmias).
Administration of magnesium sulfate during general anesthesia did not affect the occurrence of EA in pediatric patients. However, magnesium sulfate can prolong the emergence time without adverse effects. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021252924.

Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Inc.