Ketamine added to morphine or hydromorphone patient-controlled analgesia for acute postoperative pain in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials
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PURPOSE: To determine whether ketamine added to morphine or hydromorphone patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) provides clinically relevant reductions in postoperative pain, opioid requirements, and adverse events when compared with morphine or hydromorphone PCA in adults undergoing surgery. SOURCE: We systematically searched six databases up to June 2, 2015 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing ketamine plus morphine/hydromorphone PCA vs morphine/hydromorphone PCA for postoperative pain in adults. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Thirty-six RCTs including 2,502 patients proved eligible, and 22 of these were at low risk of bias. The addition of ketamine to morphine/hydromorphone PCA decreased postoperative pain intensity at six to 72 hr when measured at rest (weighted mean difference [WMD] on a 10-cm visual analogue scale ranged from -0.4 to -1.3 cm) and during mobilization (WMD ranged from -0.4 to -0.5 cm). Adjunctive ketamine also significantly reduced cumulative morphine consumption at 24-72 hr by approximately 5-20 mg. Predefined subgroup analyses and meta-regression did not detect significant differences across subgroups, including a dose-response relationship. There was no significant difference in patient satisfaction scores at 24 and 48 hr. Nevertheless, the addition of ketamine to morphine/hydromorphone PCA significantly reduced postoperative nausea and vomiting (relative risk, 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.60 to 0.85; absolute risk reduction, 8.9%; 95% CI, 4.6 to 12.2). Significant effects on other adverse events (e.g., hallucinations, vivid dreams) were not detected, though only a few studies reported on them. CONCLUSIONS: Adding ketamine to morphine/hydromorphone PCA provides a small improvement in postoperative analgesia while reducing opioid requirements. Adjunctive ketamine also reduces postoperative nausea and vomiting without a detected increase in other adverse effects; however, adverse events were probably underreported.
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