, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 584-589

Effects of intravenous ketamine on gastrointestinal motility in the dog

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The purpose of this trial was to clarify the effets of intravenous ketamine at anaesthetic and sub-anaesthetic dosages on gastrointestinal motility.


20 beagles (group 1: 3 mg/ketamine/kg/h,n=10; group 2: 30 mg ketamine/kg/h,n=10), were investigated. Gastric emptying (nuclide gastric emptying studies, liquid and semi-solid test meal), intestinal transit time (Hydrogen breath test with lactulose) and intestinal motor function (perfusion manometry with 8 measuring ports) were determned. As a control condition, the tests were performed on all dogs in the two groups during infusion of physiological saline solution.


No significant differences in the motility patterns were present between 3 mg ketamine/kg/h and the control condition. For group 2, a moderately significant (p<0.05) increase in the interdigestive motility index was observed for 30 mg k ketamine/kg/h. However, this did not change the transit criteria. There was no significant difference between ketamine and control condition tests with regard to cycle and phase lengths or the propagation rate of the activity front.


We conclude that ketamine provokes no basic changes in gastrointestinal motility, at either sub-anaesthetic doses. It can there-fore be used to advantage in the continuous postoperative analgesia of intensive care patients, where repeated interventions are necessary and no cardiopulmonary contraindications are present.

Parts of this study have been presented on the 6th European Symposium on Gastrointestinal Matility, Barcelona 1992