A randomized controlled trial to assess the effect of a ketamine infusion on tourniquet hypertension during general anaesthesia in patients undergoing upper and lower limb surgery
Background: Tourniquet hypertension arising from tourniquet inflation remains a primary concern to the anaesthetist. One drug commonly used to manage tourniquet hypertension is ketamine. No studies have examined the effect of ketamine on tourniquet hypertension for a period of more than one hour or an infusion of the same.
Objective: To compare the effect of an intravenous infusion of ketamine versus placebo on tourniquet induced hypertension in patients undergoing upper and lower limb surgery under general anaesthesia.
Methods: Forty six adult patients scheduled for upper and lower limb surgery under general anaesthesia were randomized into two equal groups. The ketamine group received an intravenous bolus of 0.1mg/kg of ketamine followed by an infusion of 2ug/kg/min. The saline group received an intravenous bolus of physiological saline followed by an infusion of saline. All the patients were reviewed post-operatively. Data of the baseline characteristics, haemodynamic changes, post-tourniquet pain and side effects were collected. If post-tourniquet pain was present post-operatively, a visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to assess its severity.
Results: 46 patients successfully completed the trial. There were no significant differences between the groups for baseline patient demographics. The incidence of tourniquet hypertension was higher in the saline group (26.1%) compared with ketamine group (4.6%) with a 95% confidence interval. The difference was shown to be statistically significant (‘P’<0.05). There was an increase in systolic blood pressure after 60 minutes of tourniquet inflation in the saline group but the difference was not statistically significant(‘P’>0.866). There were no significant differences between the groups as regards diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. VAS scores did not differ between the two groups. Statistically, there was no difference found between the two groups. Side effects were minimal in the ketamine group whilst in the saline group, nausea and vomiting were predominant but were also not statistically significant.
Conclusion: Based on the results of this study,there was a difference in the proportion of tourniquet hypertension between the ketamine and saline groups for patients undergoing upper and lower limb orthopaedic surgery under general anaesthesia.
Keywords: Randomized controlled trial, effect of a ketamine infusion, tourniquet hypertension, general anaesthesia, upper and lower limb surgery
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