The Future of Intensive Care Unit Sedation: A Report of Continuous Infusion Ketamine as an Alternative Sedative Agent

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This report describes a patient case utilizing a nontraditional sedative, continuous infusion ketamine, as an alternative agent for intensive care unit (ICU) sedation. A 27-year-old female presented for neurosurgical management of a coup contrecoup injury, left temporal fracture, epidural hemorrhage (EDH), and temporal contusion leading to sustained mechanical ventilation. The patient experienced profound agitation during mechanical ventilation and developed adverse effects with all traditional sedatives: benzodiazepines, dexmedetomidine, opioids, and propofol. Ketamine was titrated to effect and eliminated the need for other agents. This led to successful ventilator weaning, extubation, and transition of care. Given the unique side effect profile of ketamine, it is imperative that information is disseminated on potential utilization of this agent. More information is needed regarding dosing, monitoring, and long-term effects of utilizing ketamine as a continuous ICU sedative, but given the analgesia, anesthesia, and cardiopulmonary stability, future utilization of this medication for this indication seems promising.

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