A number of prospective randomized comparator studies have suggested that there is a reduction in post-operative nausea and vomiting following maintenance of anaesthesia with propofol compared with inhalational agents. We analysed these studies in more detail by examining the effects of induction agent, choice of inhalation agent, presence/absence of nitrous oxide, age of patient or use of opiate on the incidence of emesis. A search of the Zeneca database MEDLEY was undertaken and prospective randomized comparator studies identified. These were examined individually and independently by two of the authors and log-odds ratios, calculated from the incidence data of each individual trial, were determined and combined using a fixed-effects meta-analysis approach. Patients who received maintenance of anaesthesia with propofol had a significantly lower incidence of post-operative nausea and vomiting in comparison with inhalational agents regardless of induction agent, choice of inhalation agent, presence/absence of nitrous oxide, age of patient or use of opiate.