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Rasmussen Keith G. M.D.; Jarvis, Michael R. M.D., Ph.D.; Zorumski, Charles F. M.D.
Convulsive Therapy: December 1996
Original Article: PDF Only


The use of ketamine anesthesia in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been limited by its effects on blood pressure and concerns about untoward psychological reactions. However, because its effect on seizures is presumably less than that of methohexital, ketamine is listed as an alternative method to prolong seizure length. In this case series, 10 patients were given ketamine anesthesia during ECT. Whereas blood pressures were elevated above those seen with methohexital, seizure lengths actually decreased nonsignificantly with ketamine. There were no adverse psychological reactions noted with ketamine, which was generally well tolerated. It is concluded that ketamine anesthesia with the doses used in this series is unlikely to be associated with longer seizures in ECT. However, for theoretical reasons discussed, ketamine may be worth studying further in ECT.

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