Intravenous ketamine sedation for painful oncology procedures

Dan Evans, Lucy Turnham, Kathryn Barbour, Jeff Kobe, Laura Wilson, Christine Vandebeek, Carolyne J Montgomery, Paul Rogers
Paediatric Anaesthesia 2005, 15 (2): 131-8

BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to determine the efficacy and adverse effects of intravenous (i.v.) ketamine sedation administered by nonanesthetist physicians for painful procedures.

METHODS: A single-agent, procedural sedation protocol using titrated doses of ketamine i.v. (maximum 2 was conducted in outpatient pediatric oncology patients undergoing lumbar puncture (LP), bone marrow biopsy/aspiration (BMBx/A) or combination (LP/BMBx/A) in a tertiary care setting. The efficacy of analgesia and sedation (ability to perform the procedure), procedure duration, recovery time and the occurrence of adverse events are described.

RESULTS: Fifty-eight subjects of a median age of 5 years (1-13) and median weight of 20 kg (10.5-68) underwent 119 sedations. An LP was performed in 73% of cases, a BMBx/A in 13% and LP/BMBx/A in 13%. Efficacy was 100% and the mean dose of ketamine was 1.3 (0.4). The mean duration of the procedure was 6.6 min (4.2) and the recovery time was 11 min (4-45). Two subjects (1.7%) had a hypoxemia (SpO2 of <94%). No major airway complications occurred. The prevalence of hypertension (systolic > 20% at 5 min) was 54%. The median pain visual analogue score (VAS) for an observer was 0 (range 0-3) and caregiver was 0 (range 0-4). The median VAS for satisfaction (observer) was 10 (range 7-10) and caregiver VAS was also 10 (range 5-10). At 24 h after discharge, the incidence of bad dreams was 3.3%; vomiting, 10.8%; and abnormal behavior, 4.2%.

CONCLUSION: Ketamine i.v. up to 2 is an effective sedative for oncology procedures using a defined protocol.

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