Background and objective: A need exists for a safe and effective oral preanaesthetic medication for use in children undergoing elective surgery. The study sought to define the dose of oral ketamine that would facilitate induction of anaesthesia without causing significant side-effects.
Methods: We studied 80 children undergoing elective surgery under general anaesthesia who received oral ketamine 4, 6 or 8 mg kg−1 in a prospective, randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study. We compared the reaction to separation from parents, transport to the operating room, the response to intravenous cannula insertion and application of an anaesthetic facemask, the induction of anaesthesia and recovery from anaesthesia.
Results: In the group receiving ketamine 8 mg kg−1, the children were significantly calmer than those of the other groups, and anaesthesia induction was more comfortable. Recovery from anaesthesia was longer in the group receiving ketamine 8 mg kg−1 compared with the other groups, but no differences between the groups were observed after 2 h in the recovery room.
Conclusions: It is concluded that oral ketamine 8 mg kg−1 is an effective oral premedication in inpatient children undergoing elective surgery.
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