Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is the most frequent side effect following anaesthesia. Predisposition to developing PONV is multifactorial with patient risk factors and anaesthetic techniques both being contributory. However, there is also a genetic susceptibility to PONV, and several studies have aimed to identify polymorphisms contributing to a genetic PONV risk.
We summarised previous published studies investigating genetic contribution to PONV risk.
Systematic review without meta-analysis.
We searched MEDLINE until June 2019.
Articles were chosen for review when PONV and polymorphisms were included. Exclusion criteria were reviews/meta-analysis/comments, articles not in the English language, nonappropriate content (e.g. PONV not as primary aim of the study, study investigated opioid-induced nausea) or if articles were pharmacogenetic studies addressing treatment of PONV.
A total of 59 studies were screened and 14 articles were reviewed including one genome-wide association study (GWAS). Seven studies were performed in East Asians, and seven in Caucasians. Seventeen polymorphisms have been positively associated with PONV in at least one study. Allele frequency of the investigated polymorphisms differs widely between the ethnicities. Furthermore, the anaesthesia regimen and the postoperative time point at which the association with PONV was reported were quite different. Only two polymorphisms, the CHRM3 rs2165870 and the KCNB2 rs349358 (both first associated with PONV in a GWAS), have been significantly associated with PONV incidence in Caucasians in independent studies.
There is a genetic susceptibility to the development of PONV. Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), the CHRM3 rs2165870 and the KCNB2 rs349358 SNP, seem to have a major influence on PONV incidence, at least in Caucasians. Both SNPs were primarily identified in a GWAS and this association may lead to a better understanding of the disease aetiology. Further high-quality studies are needed to reveal more insights in genetic PONV susceptibility, particularly so in non-Caucasian ethnicities.