Background: Multimodal analgesic strategies that reduce perioperative opioid consumption are well-supported in Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) literature. However, the optimal analgesic regimen has not been established, as the contributions of each individual agent to the overall analgesic efficacy with opioid reduction remains unknown. Perioperative ketamine infusions can decrease opioid consumption and opioid-related side effects. However, as opioid requirements are drastically minimized within ERAS models, the differential effects of ketamine within an ERAS pathway remain unknown. We aim to pragmatically investigate through a learning healthcare system infrastructure how the addition of a perioperative ketamine infusion to mature ERAS pathways affects functional recovery.
Methods: The IMPAKT ERAS trial (IMpact of PerioperAtive KeTamine on Enhanced Recovery after Abdominal Surgery) is a single center, pragmatic, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial. 1544 patients undergoing major abdominal surgery will be randomly allocated to receive intraoperative and postoperative (up to 48 hours) ketamine versus placebo infusions as part of a perioperative multimodal analgesic regimen. The primary outcome is length of stay, defined as surgical start time until hospital discharge. Secondary outcomes will include a variety of in-hospital clinical end points derived from the electronic health record.
Discussion: We aimed to launch a large-scale, pragmatic trial that would easily integrate into routine clinical workflow. Implementation of a modified consent process was critical to preserving our pragmatic design, permitting an efficient, low-cost model without reliance on external study personnel. Therefore, we partnered with leaders of our Investigational Review Board to develop a novel, modified consent process and shortened written consent form that would meet all standard elements of informed consent, yet also allow clinical providers the ability to recruit and enroll patients during their clinical workflow. Our trial design has created a platform for subsequent pragmatic studies at our institution.
Trial registration number: NCT04625283, Pre-results Protocol Version 1.0, 2021.