Postoperative nausea and vomiting: physiopathology, risk factors, prophylaxis and treatment

Rev Esp Anestesiol Reanim. 2017 Apr;64(4):223-232. doi: 10.1016/j.redar.2016.10.001. Epub 2016 Dec 29.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Recognising the importance of the prevention and early treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is essential to avoid postoperative complications, improve patient satisfaction and enable the development of major outpatient surgery and fast-track surgery. The topic of PONV might seem to have become stagnant, but we are moving forward. New concepts and problems like post-discharge nausea and vomiting, new risk factors and new drugs are appearing. However, there continue to be mistaken notions about PONV, such as the association between PONV and post-anaesthesia care unit stays, or assuming that it is a risk factore characteristic of the patient, anaesthesia or surgery when it is not. Perhaps, now is the moment to tackle PONV in a different manner, implementing guidelines and going for more aggressive prophylaxis in some groups of patients. We present an extensive review of this topic.

Keywords: Antiemetics; Antieméticos; Emesis; Escala de riesgo; Factores de riesgo; Náuseas y vómitos postoperatorios; Postoperative nausea and vomiting; Risk factors; Risk score.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting* / physiopathology
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting* / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting* / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors