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Changing Clinical Practice for Better Outcomes of Surgical Patients

Professor Daqing Ma, MD, PhD, FRCA, our current president of CLSS-UK, Professor of Anaesthesia and BOC Chair in the Department of Surgery and Cancer, together with his long term collaborator Professor Dongxin Wang, Chair of Department of Anesthesiology, Peking University First Hospital, published a paper in the Lancet entitled “Dexmedetomidine decreases the incidence of delirium in elderly patients after non-cardiac surgery: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”.

Their achievement could be considered as one of the “landmarks” between Imperial College, China’s leading research partner and educational collaborator in the UK, and Peking University in reflecting the strong UK-China links.


Delirium is a common postoperative complication in the elderly which is associated with worse postoperative outcomes including increased morbidity and mortality. Effective therapy in preventing/treating this complication has not yet been reported. This study is the first big clinical trial to demonstrate that a very low dose of Dexmedetomidine, a sedative acting on α2 adrenoceptor, provided multi-favourable effects including improving patients’ sleep, to postoperative patients and hence dramatically reduced the incidence of delirium. This great work is likely changing clinical practice for better outcome of surgical patients.

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