© 2016 Geng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background: The use of dexmedetomidine may have benefits on the clinical outcomes of cardiac surgery. We conducted a meta-analysis comparing the postoperative complications in patients undergoing cardiac surgery with dexmedetomidine versus other perioperative medications to determine the influence of perioperative dexmedetomidine on cardiac surgery patients. Methods: Randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trials comparing outcomes in patients who underwent cardiac surgery with dexmedetomidine, another medication, or a placebo were retrieved from EMBASE, PubMed, the Cochrane Library, and Science Citation Index. Results: A total of 1702 patients in 14 studies met the selection criteria among 1,535 studies that fit the research strategy. Compared to other medications, dexmedetomidine has combined risk ratios of 0.28 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.15, 0.55, P = 0.0002) for ventricular tachycardia, 0.35 (95% CI 0.20, 0.62, P = 0.0004) for postoperative delirium, 0.76 (95% CI 0.55, 1.06, P = 0.11) for atrial fibrillation, 1.08 (95% CI 0.74, 1.57, P = 0.69) for hypotension, and 2.23 (95% CI 1.36, 3.67, P = 0.001) for bradycardia. In addition, dexmedetomidine may reduce the length of intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stay. Conclusions: This meta-analysis revealed that the perioperative use of dexmedetomidine in patients undergoing cardiac surgery can reduce the risk of postoperative ventricular tachycardia and delirium, but may increase the risk of bradycardia. The estimates showed a decreased risk of atrial fibrillation, shorter length of ICU stay and hospitalization, and increased risk of hypotension with dexmedetomidine.