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Ketamine: Current applications in anesthesia, pain, and critical care

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      Abstract

      Ketamine was introduced commercially in 1970 with the manufacturer's description as a “rapidly acting, nonbarbiturate general anesthetic” and a suggestion that it would be useful for short procedures. With the help of its old unique pharmacological properties and newly found beneficial clinical properties, ketamine has survived the strong winds of time, and it currently has a wide variety of clinical applications. It's newly found neuroprotective, antiinflammatory and antitumor effects, and the finding of the usefulness of low dose ketamine regimens have helped to widen the clinical application profile of ketamine. The present article attempts to review the current useful applications of ketamine in anesthesia, pain and critical care. It is based on scientific evidence gathered from textbooks, journals, and electronic databases.

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      Most cited references 114

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      Clinical practice guideline for emergency department ketamine dissociative sedation: 2011 update.

      We update an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the administration of the dissociative agent ketamine for emergency department procedural sedation and analgesia. Substantial new research warrants revision of the widely disseminated 2004 guideline, particularly with respect to contraindications, age recommendations, potential neurotoxicity, and the role of coadministered anticholinergics and benzodiazepines. We critically discuss indications, contraindications, personnel requirements, monitoring, dosing, coadministered medications, recovery issues, and future research questions for ketamine dissociative sedation. Copyright © 2011 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.
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        Etomidate versus ketamine for rapid sequence intubation in acutely ill patients: a multicentre randomised controlled trial.

        Critically ill patients often require emergency intubation. The use of etomidate as the sedative agent in this context has been challenged because it might cause a reversible adrenal insufficiency, potentially associated with increased in-hospital morbidity. We compared early and 28-day morbidity after a single dose of etomidate or ketamine used for emergency endotracheal intubation of critically ill patients. In this randomised, controlled, single-blind trial, 655 patients who needed sedation for emergency intubation were prospectively enrolled from 12 emergency medical services or emergency departments and 65 intensive care units in France. Patients were randomly assigned by a computerised random-number generator list to receive 0.3 mg/kg of etomidate (n=328) or 2 mg/kg of ketamine (n=327) for intubation. Only the emergency physician enrolling patients was aware of group assignment. The primary endpoint was the maximum score of the sequential organ failure assessment during the first 3 days in the intensive care unit. We excluded from the analysis patients who died before reaching the hospital or those discharged from the intensive care unit before 3 days (modified intention to treat). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00440102. 234 patients were analysed in the etomidate group and 235 in the ketamine group. The mean maximum SOFA score between the two groups did not differ significantly (10.3 [SD 3.7] for etomidate vs 9.6 [3.9] for ketamine; mean difference 0.7 [95% CI 0.0-1.4], p=0.056). Intubation conditions did not differ significantly between the two groups (median intubation difficulty score 1 [IQR 0-3] in both groups; p=0.70). The percentage of patients with adrenal insufficiency was significantly higher in the etomidate group than in the ketamine group (OR 6.7, 3.5-12.7). We recorded no serious adverse events with either study drug. Our results show that ketamine is a safe and valuable alternative to etomidate for endotracheal intubation in critically ill patients, and should be considered in those with sepsis. French Ministry of Health.
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          Ketamine for chronic pain: risks and benefits.

          The anaesthetic ketamine is used to treat various chronic pain syndromes, especially those that have a neuropathic component. Low dose ketamine produces strong analgesia in neuropathic pain states, presumably by inhibition of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor although other mechanisms are possibly involved, including enhancement of descending inhibition and anti-inflammatory effects at central sites. Current data on short term infusions indicate that ketamine produces potent analgesia during administration only, while three studies on the effect of prolonged infusion (4-14 days) show long-term analgesic effects up to 3 months following infusion. The side effects of ketamine noted in clinical studies include psychedelic symptoms (hallucinations, memory defects, panic attacks), nausea/vomiting, somnolence, cardiovascular stimulation and, in a minority of patients, hepatoxicity. The recreational use of ketamine is increasing and comes with a variety of additional risks ranging from bladder and renal complications to persistent psychotypical behaviour and memory defects. Blind extrapolation of these risks to clinical patients is difficult because of the variable, high and recurrent exposure to the drug in ketamine abusers and the high frequency of abuse of other illicit substances in this population. In clinical settings, ketamine is well tolerated, especially when benzodiazepines are used to tame the psychotropic side effects. Irrespective, close monitoring of patients receiving ketamine is mandatory, particularly aimed at CNS, haemodynamic, renal and hepatic symptoms as well as abuse. Further research is required to assess whether the benefits outweigh the risks and costs. Until definite proof is obtained ketamine administration should be restricted to patients with therapy-resistant severe neuropathic pain.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Anaesthesiology, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubli, Karnataka, India
            Author notes
            Corresponding author: Dr. Madhuri S. Kurdi, Department of Anaesthesiology, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubli, Karnataka, India. E-mail: drmadhuri_kurdi@ 123456yahoo.com
            Journal
            Anesth Essays Res
            Anesth Essays Res
            AER
            Anesthesia, Essays and Researches
            Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
            0259-1162
            2229-7685
            Sep-Dec 2014
            : 8
            : 3
            : 283-290
            4258981
            AER-8-283
            10.4103/0259-1162.143110
            Copyright: © Anesthesia: Essays and Researches

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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