Safety and Efficacy of the Combination of Propofol and Ketamine for Procedural Sedation/Anesthesia in the Pediatric Population: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Jason A Hayes, Talal Aljuhani, Kyle De Oliveira, Bradley C Johnston
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2020 July 7

BACKGROUND: Drugs such as propofol and ketamine are used alone or in combination to provide sedation for medical procedures in children. The purpose of this systematic review was to compare the safety and effectiveness of propofol and ketamine to other drug regimens.

METHODS: We searched Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), Web of Science, and the grey literature (meta-Register of Controlled Trials,, and Google Scholar) for randomized controlled studies comparing intravenous propofol and ketamine to any other single or combination drug regimen administered to children undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. Meta-analyses were performed for primary (hemodynamic and respiratory adverse events) and secondary outcomes using RevMan 5.3. We assessed the risk of bias and the certainty (quality) evidence for all outcomes using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology.

RESULTS: Twenty-nine studies were included for analysis. Based on low-to-moderate quality evidence, we concluded that the use of propofol and ketamine may result in a slight-to-small reduction in the risk of hypotension, bradycardia, and apnea, and a slight increase in the risk of tachycardia, hypertension, and other respiratory adverse events, such as cough or laryngospasm. The ratio of propofol to ketamine and comparator drug regimen subgroups effects were important for desaturation and some secondary outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of propofol and ketamine had a minimal effect on the incidence of adverse events and other secondary outcomes. Large-scale studies are required to more accurately estimate adverse event rates and the effects of propofol and ketamine on patient-important outcomes.

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