Objectives: Ketamine is used as an analgesic for combat injuries. Ketamine may worsen brain injury, but new studies suggest neuroprotection. Our objective was to report the outcomes of combat casualties with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who received prehospital ketamine. Methods: This was a post hoc, sub-analysis of a larger prospective, multicenter study (the Life Saving Intervention study [LSI]) evaluating prehospital interventions performed in Afghanistan. A DoD Trauma Registry query provided disposition at discharge and outcomes to be linked with the LSI data. Results: For this study, we enrolled casualties that were suspected to have TBI (n = 160). Most were 26-year-old males (98%) with explosion-related injuries (66%), a median injury severity score of 12, and 5% mortality. Fifty-seven percent (n = 91) received an analgesic, 29% (n = 46) ketamine, 28% (n = 45) other analgesic (OA), and 43% (n = 69) no analgesic (NA). The ketamine group had more pelvic injuries (P = 0.0302) and tourniquets (P = 0.0041) compared to OA. In comparison to NA, the ketamine group was more severely injured and more likely to require LSI procedures, yet, had similar vital signs at admission and disposition at discharge. Conclusions: We found that combat casualties with suspected TBI that received prehospital ketamine had similar outcomes to those that received OAs or NAs despite injury differences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health