Treatment of acute postoperative pain is an essential part of perioperative care and if left untreated could complicate the healing period. Ketamine blocks nociceptive pain and pain arising from inflammation. Therefore, it is potentially beneficial in the postoperative period. After systematic review using “MEDLINE/PubMed (NLM)” database, we analyzed 18 studies published during 2011–2020 and found that 0.5 mg/kg/h ketamine bolus and 0.1–0.25 mg/kg/h ketamine infusion to be the most effective dose to alleviate postoperative acute pain. Ketamine, when compared with a placebo, did not have any impact on patients’ satisfaction with postoperative pain management and overall well-being. Only three studies revealed more frequent adverse reactions to ketamine after surgery suggesting that ketamine did not have any impact on patients’ postoperational rehabilitation. So, it is the option to recommend low-dose ketamine to be part of multimodal analgesia in acute severe postoperative pain treatment. It can be used in both opioid-dependent and opioid-tolerant patients. Ketamine bolus should be ≤0.35 mg/kg and infusion ≤1 mg/kg/h. One should avoid the use of ketamine in pregnant women, people with cardiovascular diseases, acute psychosis, impaired liver function, increased intracranial, and intraocular pressure. Intranasal ketamine may be considered for children during procedures outside of the operation room.
Part of the book: Ketamine Revisited