Can J Anesth. 2015 Dec 10.
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.
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.
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.
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.