Ketamine in emergency situations: a molecule with a bright future!

Vanessa Bellemans, Caroline Declerfayt, Jean-Marie Jacques Published in the journal : July 2021 Category : Emergency

Summary :

Ketamine is an old drug that was first used in the 1960s in anesthesia, displaying quite special properties. This agent is simultaneously hypnotic, amnesic, bronchodilator, antidepressant, and analgesic, while offering a safe profile of use. It preserves airway protection reflexes and respiratory drive, provides hemodynamic stability, and exerts enhanced sympathetic activity. These properties render it ideal for managing critically ill patients. In the emergency room, ketamine plays already a role in intubation support, sedation, and analgesia. Recently, its indications have been extended to the domains of psychiatry and neurology.

What is already known about the topic?

Ketamine is a N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist with sedative and analgesic properties. Its rapid onset and short duration of action, its ability to maintain respiratory reflexes, and its aptitude to provide hemodynamic stability render it a good induction agent for procedural sedation and rapid sequence intubation.

What does this article bring up for us?

This article reviews current and potential applications of ketamine in emergency medicine.

Key Words

Ketamine, sedation, intubation support, analgesia, agitation