Ketamine for rapid sequence induction in patients with head injury in the emergency department

Authors

  • Rajesh S Sehdev,

    Corresponding author
    1. Emergency Department, The Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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    • Rajesh S Sehdev, MBChB, MSc, MRCP, Emergency Registrar; David A D Symmons, MBBS, DA(UK), FACEM, Emergency Physician; Korana Kindl, MBBS, Senior House Officer.

  • David AD Symmons,

    1. Emergency Department, The Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • Korana Kindl

    1. Emergency Department, The Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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Dr Rajesh S Sehdev, Emergency Department, The Townsville Hospital, PO Box, 670, Townsville, Qld. 4810, Australia. Email: rajesh_sehdev@health.qld.gov.au

Abstract

Objective:  To examine the evidence regarding the use of ketamine for induction of anaesthesia in patients with head injury in the ED.

Method:  A literature review using the key words ketamine, head injury and intracranial pressure.

Results:  Advice from early literature guiding against the use of ketamine in head injury has been met with widespread acceptance, as reflected by current practice. That evidence is conflicting and inconclusive in regards to the safety of using ketamine in head injury. A review of the literature to date suggests that ketamine could be a safe and useful addition to our available treatment modalities. The key to this argument rests on specific pharmacological properties of ketamine, and their effects on the cerebral haemodynamics and cellular physiology of brain tissue that has been exposed to traumatic injury.

Conclusion:  In the modern acute management of head-injured patients, ketamine might be a suitable agent for induction of anaesthesia, particularly in those patients with potential cardiovascular instability.

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