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Acad Emerg Med. 1997 Jan;4(1):22-6.

Evaluation of ketorolac in children with forearm fractures.

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  • 1Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



To evaluate ketorolac for pain relief and an opioid-sparing effect in children with forearm fractures necessitating reduction.


A prospective, randomized, double-blind study was conducted at an urban children's hospital ED. A convenience sample of children aged 3-18 years with isolated forearm fractures was studied. None received prior pain medication. A 10-point visual analog scale (VAS) was used to assess pain at the time of study entry and prior to sedation/analgesia. The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario's Pain Score (CHEOPS), a 13-point behavioral score, was used to assess pain during sedation. Patients received either IV ketorolac (K), 1 mg/kg, or saline (S) after entry into the study. After a minimum of 20 minutes, pain was reassessed and supplemental analgesia/sedation administered. A standard dose of midazolam, 0.1 mg/kg to a maximum of 6 mg, was given to all patients, and fentanyl was titrated at 1-microgram/kg increments based on patient need. Once the patient was comfortable, reduction was performed and a reduction CHEOPS score assigned.


For the 34 study children (17 K, 17 S), there was no difference in sex or mean age between the groups. Mean total doses of fentanyl were 2.26 micrograms/kg in the K group and 2.85 micrograms/kg in the S group (p = 0.07). The median changes in VAS score before and after receiving the study drug were -1.13 K and -0.18 S (p = 0.06). The median CHEOPS score was 10 for both groups. Seven of the 17 patients in the S group required the maximum fentanyl dose (4 micrograms/kg), compared with 2 of 17 in the K group (p = p.06).


Although ketorolac seems to add to patient comfort in children with forearm fractures, it does not have a significant opioid-sparing effect. Ketorolac showed a trend toward pain relief, but statistical significance was not reached.

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