Background: Adenotonsillectomy is commonly needed by children with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. This population is at high risk of life threatening airway obstruction in the postoperative period.
Methods: Fifty children were studied to test the efficacy of an alternative analgesic to the use of opioids in providing analgesia in the immediate postoperative period. Patients were randomized to receive either 0.1 mg.kg-1 morphine or 0.5 mg.kg-1 ketamine at induction.
Results: Ketamine was as effective as morphine with no additional side-effects.
Conclusions: Ketamine is a safe and effective alternative to morphine to provide analgesia in the immediate postoperative period after tonsillectomy.