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A randomized feasibility trial of clonidine to reduce perioperative cardiac risk in patients on chronic beta-blockade: the EPIC study.

Author(s): Wijeysundera DN(1), Choi PT, Badner NH, Brasher PM, Dresser GK, Delgado DH, Beattie WS.

Affiliation(s): Author information: (1)Department of Anesthesia, Toronto General Hospital and University of Toronto, Eaton Wing 3-450, 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, ON, M5G 2C4, Canada, d.wijeysundera@utoronto.ca.

Publication date & source: 2014, Can J Anaesth. , 61(11):995-1003

PURPOSE: Clonidine may help prevent cardiac complications in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery and receiving chronic beta-blocker therapy. We conducted a multicentre pilot randomized trial to estimate recruitment rates for a full-scale trial and to assess the safety and tolerability of combining clonidine with chronic beta-blockade. METHODS: Patients who were at elevated perioperative cardiac risk, receiving chronic beta-blockade, and scheduled for major non-cardiac surgery were recruited in a blinded (participants, clinicians, outcome assessors) placebo-controlled randomized trial at three Canadian hospitals. Participants were randomized to clonidine (0.2 mg oral tablet one hour before surgery, plus 0.2 mg·day(-1) transdermal patch placed one hour before surgery and removed four days after surgery or hospital discharge, whichever came first) or matching placebo. Feasibility was evaluated based on recruitment rates, with each centre being required to recruit 50 participants within 12-18 months. Additionally, we reviewed study drug withdrawals and safety outcomes, including clinically significant hypotension or bradycardia. RESULTS: Eighty-two of the 168 participants were randomized to receive clonidine and 86 to receive placebo. The average time to recruit 50 participants at each centre was 14.3 months. Six patients (7%) withdrew from clonidine, while four (5%) withdrew from placebo. Based on qualitative review, there were no major safety concerns related to clonidine. There was a moderate overall rate of cardiac morbidity, with 18 participants (11%) suffering postoperative myocardial infarction. CONCLUSION: This pilot randomized trial confirmed the feasibility, safety, and tolerability of a full-scale trial of oral and transdermal clonidine for reducing the risk of cardiac complications during non-cardiac surgery. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00335582.

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