Impact of intra-operative ketamine on postoperative outcomes in abdominal surgery: a narrative review

Daniela Kerguelen Murcia, Joy S. Li, Uma R. Phatak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background and Objective: Ketamine offers a promising solution to common postoperative issues in abdominal surgery, including pain, nausea, opioid use, and opioid-related side effects. The purpose of this literature review is to analyze the benefits and potential adverse effects associated with the intraoperative utilization of ketamine during abdominal surgeries. Methods: A comprehensive search of PubMed and Ovid MEDLINE was conducted by two independent reviewers. Studies were included if they targeted adult patients and evaluated intra-operative use of ketamine for abdominal operations. Key Content and Findings: We identified 13 studies of intraoperative use of ketamine in abdominal surgery. The results of these studies showed improved pain management as demonstrated by lower pain scores, decreased hyperalgesia, and a decreased need for additional analgesics. The results also demonstrated a decrease in opioid consumption during the critical 24-hour postoperative period. However, a few studies reported undesirable side effects such as hallucinations and delirium. Conclusions: The intraoperative use of ketamine holds promise as a valuable adjunct to anesthesia during abdominal surgeries. Studies support its use in improving post-operative pain and decreasing opioid consumption. Due to risks of adverse effects, further studies in larger patient populations may help identify which patients will benefit the most. This review offers a succinct selection of the pertinent literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalTranslational Gastroenterology and Hepatology
StatePublished - Apr 30 2024


  • abdominal surgery
  • intraoperative
  • Ketamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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