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Ketamine infusions as an adjunct for sedation in critically ill children

Peter N. Johnson, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, FPPA, FCCM, Rebecca Mayes, PharmD, Eszter Moore, PharmD, Stephen Neely, MPH, Amy L. Nguyen, PharmD, BCPPS, Jamie L. Miller, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, FPPA

Abstract


Objective: Limited reports have described ketamine’s role as an adjunct sedative. The purpose was to describe ketamine’s role as an adjunct to achieve goal sedation in mechanically ventilated children.

Design: Retrospective, descriptive study.

Setting: Thirteen-bed pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) and 12-bed pediatric cardiovascular ICU.

Participants: Seventy-three ketamine courses were included, representing 62 mechanically ventilated children <18 years receiving ketamine for 12 hours.

Main outcome measure(s): The primary outcome was to determine the median dose and time to achieve goal sedation (80 percent of State Behavioral Scale scores between 0 and –1) based on ketamine’s place in therapy as an adjunct in the sedation regimen. Secondary outcomes included a comparison of sedative dosing pre- and post-ketamine initiation between place in therapy groups and paralyzed/nonparalyzed patients, and identification of ketamine-attributed adverse drug event (ADEs) or iatrogenic withdrawal syndrome (IWS).

Results: The median age was 1.0 years (interquartile range: 0.4-4.9). Ketamine was initiated as first-line (n = 7; 9.6 percent), second-line (n = 39; 53.4 percent), third-line (n = 26; 35.6 percent), or fourth-line (n = 1; 1.4 percent) sedation. The median initial and peak doses were 0.6 mg/kg/h (0.3-0.6) and 0.9 mg/kg/h (0.9-1.2), respectively. The median dose and time to achieve goal sedation was 0.8 mg/kg/h (0.6-1.1) and 2 hours (1-7), respectively. ADEs were noted during three courses (4.1 percent) and IWS after discontinuation of one course (1.4 percent).

Conclusions: The majority were initiated on ketamine as a second- or third-line adjunct sedative. The median initial dose was 0.6 and dose to achieve goal sedation was 0.8 mg/kg/h. Ketamine-attributed ADEs and IWS episodes were rare.


Keywords


ketamine, sedation, pedi

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jom.2022.0695

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