A retrospective chart review published in the Air Medical Journal was aimed at determining the prevalence, safety and effectiveness of ketamine sedation in patients suffering from acute behavioural disturbance (ABD) during air medical retrieval. According to the authors, eligible patients were identified by searching the electronic databases of two air medical retrieval services in Queensland, Australia, for adult patients with ABD transported between 1 January 2015, and 30 June 2016. Data abstraction was performed as per standard chart review criteria. The incidences of intubations and adverse reactions were the main outcomes.
The results saw 122 patients meeting the inclusion criteria. Thirty-one were intubated, 21 for airway protection/respiratory depression and 10 for persistent ABD. Nine patients developed hypertension following ketamine had been administered, two of whom then needed medical intervention. One patient developed hypoxia after administration of the drug that resolved without intervention, and one developed increased secretions.
The study authors concluded overall that ketamine is a safe and effective agent for sedating patients with ABD during an air medical transport mission.