Background: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is associated with significant perioperative risk for major complications in children, including pulmonary hypertensive crisis and cardiac arrest. Uncertainty remains about the safety of ketamine anesthesia in this patient population.
Aim: Retrospectively review the medical records of children with PAH to ascertain the nature and frequency of peri-procedural complications and to determine whether ketamine administration was associated with peri-procedural complications.
Methods: Children with PAH (mean pulmonary artery pressure ≥25 mmHg and pulmonary vascular resistance index ≥3 Wood units) who underwent general anesthesia for procedures during a 6-year period (2002–2008) were enrolled. Details about the patient, PAH, procedure, anesthetic and postprocedural course were noted, including adverse events during or within 48 h of the procedure. Complication rates were reported per procedure. Association between ketamine and peri-procedural complications was tested.
Results: Sixty-eight children (median age 7.3 year, median weight 22 kg) underwent 192 procedures. Severity of PAH was mild (23%), moderate (37%), and severe (40%). Procedures undertaken were major surgery (n = 20), minor surgery (n = 27), cardiac catheterization (n = 128) and nonsurgical procedures (n = 17). Ketamine was administered during 149 procedures. Twenty minor and nine major complications were noted. Incidence of cardiac arrest was 0.78% for cardiac catheterization procedures, 10% for major surgical procedures and 1.6% for all procedures. There was no procedure-related mortality. Ketamine administration was not associated with increased complications.
Conclusions: Ketamine appears to be a safe anesthetic option for children with PAH. We report rates for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and mortality that are more favorable than those previously reported.