Ketamine sedation for pediatric critical care procedures

Steven M. Green, T. Kent Denmark, Jon Cline, Chad Roghair, Shamel Abd Allah, Steven G. Rothrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe our experience using ketamine sedation to facilitate pediatric critical care procedures, and to document the safety profile of ketamine in this setting. Design: Retrospective consecutive case series. Setting: Pediatric intensive care unit of a tertiary children's hospital. Patients: Children receiving ketamine for procedural sedation over a 5-year period. Interventions: We reviewed patient records to determine indication, dosing, adverse events, inadequate sedation, and recovery time for each sedation. Outcome Measures: Descriptive features of sedation including adverse events. Results: During the study period, children in our pediatric intensive care unit received ketamine at total of 442 times to facilitate a wide variety of critical care procedures, most commonly central line placement, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, and wound debridement. Most study children had substantial underlying illness (ASA ≥ 3 in 88%; ASA ≥ 4 in 39%). Inadequate sedation was noted in only nine (2%) procedures. Adverse effects included transient laryngospasm (n = 9), transient partial airway obstruction (n = 5), apnea with bradycardia (n = 1), emesis during the procedure (n = 2), emesis during recovery (n = 9), mild recovery agitation (n = 10), moderate-to-severe recovery agitation (n = 1), and excessive salivation (n = 4). There were no adverse outcomes attributable to ketamine. Conclusion: Pediatric intensivists skilled in ketamine administration can safely and effectively administer this drug to facilitate critical care procedures. Despite the ill nature of our patient sample, adverse effects were uncommon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-248
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Ketamine
  • Procedures
  • Sedation


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