• Br J Anaesth · Sep 2019

    Review Meta Analysis

    Low-dose ketamine in painful orthopaedic surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

    Low dose ketamine reduces pain and opioid requirements in the first 24 hours after major joint surgery.

    • J Mark Riddell, John M Trummel, and Igho J Onakpoya.
    • Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, Nashua, NH, USA. Electronic address: John.Riddell@snhhs.org.
    • Br J Anaesth. 2019 Sep 1; 123 (3): 325-334.

    BackgroundKetamine is a phencyclidine intravenous anaesthetic that blocks N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors and HCN channels in the CNS. Lately it has gained acceptance in a low-dose form, with studies showing an analgesic benefit in orthopaedic surgery. Our goal was to critically appraise and synthesise current evidence regarding use of low-dose ketamine in major, painful orthopaedic surgeries.MethodsWe conducted searches in Medline, Embase, Cochrane, and specialty journals for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared low-dose ketamine to placebo. Primary outcomes included total opioid use, time to first opioid, and VAS pain scores. Meta-analyses were undertaken in RevMan software using a random effects model. We rated the quality of the evidence using the GRADE Working Group criteria.ResultsWe included 20 studies across four subgroups for meta-analysis. The overall quality of the evidence was moderate. Ketamine significantly decreased total opioid use and pain scores (VAS) at 24 and 48 h (Opioid: standardised mean difference [SMD] -0.82 [-1.24, -0.40], p=0.0001, and -0.65 [-1.03,-0.27], p=0.0008; VAS: SMD -0.53 [-0.91, -0.15], p=0.006 and -0.60 [-1.05, -0.16], p=0.008), and delayed the time to first opioid dose (SMD 0.64 [0.01, 1.27], p=0.05). Results for nausea and hallucinations were equivocal, whereas results for chronic pain were inconclusive. The most prominent effects were seen in total joint operations.ConclusionLow-dose ketamine is an effective adjuvant that decreases pain and opioid requirements in painful orthopaedic procedures, especially in the first 24 h after procedure. Future research should focus on arthroscopic procedures and the incidence of chronic pain.Copyright © 2019 British Journal of Anaesthesia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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    This article appears in the collection: Ketamine infusions.



    Low dose ketamine reduces pain and opioid requirements in the first 24 hours after major joint surgery.

    Daniel Jolley  Daniel Jolley
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