I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

2022 Jan

Ann Transl Med



Long-lasting neurocognitive disorders: a case report of previously undescribed adverse effects after ketamine sedation and analgesia in a pediatric patient.


Machado-Ferraro KM, Soriano-de-Mello DS, de Moura IP, da Silveira CCSM, de Farias ECF, Maia MLF, de Sales SCD, Carvalho A EV, Magno IMN, Fontes-Júnior EA, Maia CSF
Ann Transl Med. 2022 Jan; 10(2):113.
PMID: 35282119.


This case report describes the long-term behavioral and cognitive alterations in a critically ill pediatric patient submitted to a ketamine sedation and analgesia protocol for 7 consecutive days in a pediatric intensive care unit. The infant exhibited withdrawal syndrome in the early withdrawal period, as measured using the Withdrawal Assessment Tool-1 (WAT-1). In the days following ketamine withdrawal, behavioral, motor, and cognitive impairment was observed, even after hospital discharge. At 20 days after admission to hospital, the infant still displayed language deficits compatible with the at-risk category for the appropriate age group on the development assessment (Denver-II Developmental Screening Test). The infant's mother reported that these impairments were not present before ketamine sedation. We therefore suggest that prolonged ketamine use may have contributed to the long-lasting behavioral and cognitive impairments observed in the critically ill infant. These adverse effects may be attributable to ketamine's pharmacological mechanism of action, by which the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-the central nervous system excitatory receptor responsible for memory and learning domains-is blockaded, disrupting long-term potentiation events. Our case highlights the need for clinical evaluation of ketamine agents and their associated risks in intensive care units to better clarify appropriate sedative and analgesic agents during neurodevelopmental periods of life.