A review of the use of ketamine in adult burn injuries

Dr Jason Diab1, Dr David Khaicy2

1Womens and Childrens Hospital, SA Health, 2NSW Health

Background: Pain management in burn patients is still a challenge for the multidisciplinary team. Managing pain with burn patients in adults requires a thorough understanding of drug profiles to achieve optimal outcomes. This poster reviews the current literature regarding the effectiveness and side-effect profile of intravenous ketamine as a means of pain relief.

Method: A comprehensive electronic search using Medline, Embase and Cochrane was performed to identify clinical trials comparing ketamine with placebo in adults.

Results: There were multiple clinical trials identified with data suggesting efficacy as an analgesic for burn injuries compared to opioids alone; in combination with other opioids its effects were heightened. However, the studies were rather heterogenous and further guidelines and evidence would be required to appreciate the use and profiling of ketamine in the population.

Conclusion: The clinical use of ketamine as a tool can significantly enhance our understanding of the drug in its use for burn victims. Even after 50 years since its inception, further studies and profiling with its background would aid the multidisciplinary team in addressing pain.

Jason is a plastic craniofacial registrar at the Women and Children’s hospital, Adelaide with an interest in reconstructive surgery and paediatric burns.

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