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Ketamine

6/8/10

            I talked with a retired anesthesiologist that I see periodically in follow up.  He indicated that Ketamine was approved for anesthesia in children and adults many decades ago.  He remembers the day well.  For whatever reason, approval to use Ketamine began at 11:00 AM on a particular day.  They rescheduled an obese patient with hemorrhoids to undergo surgery that afternoon.  The patient received Ketamine, and bled profusely.  Apparently Ketamine does not lower the blood pressure the way most other anesthetic agents do. 

            This anesthesiologist indicated that he used Ketamine as an anesthetic regularly for three months for adult anesthesia.  He would routinely ask patients after surgery about their experience with the anesthesia.  He recalls that about 75% of his patients receiving Ketamine described frightening dream-like hallucinations.  The other 25% did not describe any particular experience.  So many patients had frightening hallucinations with Ketamine that he stopped using Ketamine routinely in adults after about three months.  He would continue to use Ketamine for selected patients, especially trauma patients where low blood pressure was a concern. 

            Only a few percent of NDEs are predominantly frightening, and even these frightening NDEs are generally not dream-like or hallucinatory.  This anesthesiologistís observations are some of the most objective and reliable observations about experiences associated with Ketamine.  Experiences reported during NDEs are very different from Ketamine experiences.  There is no evidence that Ketamine consistently reproduces any element of NDE.

Reported by Dr. Jeff Long