Urinary Aromatic Amino Acid Metabolites Associated With Postoperative Emergence Agitation in Paediatric Patients After General Anaesthesia: Urine Metabolomics Study

Front Pharmacol. 2022 Jul 19:13:932776. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2022.932776. eCollection 2022.


Background: Emergence agitation (EA) is very common in paediatric patients during recovery from general anaesthesia, but underlying mechanisms remain unknown. This prospective study was designed to profile preoperative urine metabolites and identify potential biomarkers that can predict the occurrence of EA. Methods: A total of 224 patients were screened for recruitment; of those, preoperative morning urine samples from 33 paediatric patients with EA and 33 non-EA gender- and age-matched patients after being given sevoflurane general anaesthesia were analysed by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) coupled with a Q Exactive Plus mass spectrometer. Univariate analysis and orthogonal projection to latent structures squares-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) were used to analyse these metabolites. The least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression was used to identify predictive variables. The predictive model was evaluated through the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and then further assessed with 10-fold cross-validation. Results: Seventy-seven patients completed the study, of which 33 (42.9%) patients developed EA. EA and non-EA patients had many differences in preoperative urine metabolic profiling. Sixteen metabolites including nine aromatic amino acid metabolites, acylcarnitines, pyridoxamine, porphobilinogen, 7-methylxanthine, and 5'-methylthioadenosine were found associated with an increased risk of EA, and they all exhibited higher levels in the EA group than in the non-EA group. The main metabolic pathways involved in these metabolic changes included phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan metabolisms. Among these potential biomarkers, L-tyrosine had the best predictive value with an odds ratio (OR) (95% CI) of 5.27 (2.20-12.63) and the AUC value of 0.81 (0.70-0.91) and was robust with internal 10-fold cross-validation. Conclusion: Urinary aromatic amino acid metabolites are closely associated with EA in paediatric patients, and further validation with larger cohorts and mechanistic studies is needed. Clinical Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov, identifier NCT04807998.

Keywords: aromatic amino acids; emergence agitation; metabolomics; paediatric anaesthesia; prediction model; urine neurotransmitters.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04807998