Background: The purpose of the present study was to determine whether oral ketamine premedication affected the incidence of emergence agitation in children.
Methods: Thirty minutes before induction of anaesthesia, 80 children who were undergoing adenotonsillectomy with or without bilateral myringotomy and insertion of tubes received either ketamine 6 mg.kg(-1) per oral in group K or sour cherry juice alone in group C. Anaesthesia was maintained with desflurane. Emergence and recovery times were recorded. Tramadol was used for postoperative analgesia. Fentanyl (1 microg.kg(-1)) was administered for the treatment of emergence agitation or severe pain that still continued after tramadol administration. Postoperative behaviour was evaluated using a 5-point agitation scale.
Results: The incidence of emergence agitation was 56% in group C, and 18% in group K (P = 0.001). There was no significant difference with respect to emergence times except from time to eye opening that was significantly longer in group K (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: Oral ketamine premedication reduced the incidence of postanaesthesia emergence agitation in children without delaying recovery.