New College Ketamine Guideline

The College of Emergency Medicine (UK) has updated its guideline on ketamine sedation in children.
The summary is copied below
Full text is available here

Guideline for ketamine sedation of children in Emergency Departments

  1. Before ketamine is used all other options should be fully considered, including analgesia, reassurance, distraction, entonox, intranasal diamorphine, etc.
  2. The doses advised for analgesic sedation are designed to leave the patient capable of protecting their airway. There is a significant risk of a failure of sedation if the procedure is prolonged, and the clinician must recognise that the option of general anaesthesia may be preferred in these circumstances.
  3. There is no evidence that complications are reduced if the child is fasted, however traditional anaesthetic practice favours a period of fasting prior to any sedative procedure. The fasting state of the child should be considered in relation to the urgency of the procedure, but recent food intake should not be considered as an absolute contraindication to ketamine use.
  4. Ketamine should be only used by clinicians experienced in its use and capable of managing any complications, particularly airway obstruction, apnoea and laryngospasm. The doctor managing the ketamine sedation and airway should be suitably trained and experienced in ketamine use, with a full range of advanced airway skills.
  5. At least three staff are required: a doctor to manage the sedation and airway, a clinician to perform the procedure and an experienced nurse to monitor and support the patient, family and clinical staff. Observations should be regularly taken and recorded.
  6. The child should be managed in a high dependency or resuscitation area with immediate access to full resuscitation facilities. Monitoring should include ECG, blood pressure, respiration and pulse oximetry. Supplemental oxygen should be given and suction must be available.
  7. After the procedure the child should recover in a quiet, observed and monitored area under the continuous observation of a trained member of staff. Recovery should be complete between 60 and 120 minutes, depending on the dose and route used.
  8. There should be a documentation and audit system in place within a system of clinical governance.