A literature review addresses the myth that ketamine is contraindicated in head injured patients. They summarise articles from the 1970’s which identified an association between ketamine and increased ICP in patients with abnormal cerebrospinal fluid pathways (such as those caused by aqueductal stenosis, obstructive hydrocephalus and other mass effects). In more recent studies no statistically significant increase in ICP was observed following the administration of ketamine in patients with head injury; some of the studies showed a net increase in CPP following ketamine administration. They list ketamine’s stable haemodynamic profile and potential neuroprotective effects as further rationale for its use.
The authors boldly summarise:
‘Based on its pharmacological properties, ketamine appears to be the perfect agent for the induction of head-injured patients for intubation.’
Myth: ketamine should not be used as an induction agent for intubation in patients with head injury
CJEM. 2010 Mar;12(2):154-7