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Anesth Analg. 1999 Aug;89(2):317-21.

Propofol versus propofol-ketamine sedation for retrobulbar nerve block: comparison of sedation quality, intraocular pressure changes, and recovery profiles.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.


We compared sedation quality, intraocular pressure (IOP) changes, and recovery profiles in patients who received propofol or propofol-ketamine sedation during placement of the retrobulbar nerve block (RBB). Seventy elderly patients undergoing cataract extraction according to a prospective, randomized, double-blinded protocol were preoperatively evaluated with a Mini-Mental State examination and baseline IOP. A hypnotic dose was provided with either propofol (Group P) or a propofol-ketamine (Group PK) combination. The IOP measurement was repeated, and the surgeon initiated the RBB. Supplemental study drug was given if needed. The level of sedation was considered acceptable if the patient exhibited minimal or no movement and grimacing with needle insertion. Patients were evaluated in terms of quality of sedation, cardiopulmonary stability, and recovery profile. Compared with patients in Group P, patients in Group PK had a significantly faster onset of acceptable sedation (Group P 235 +/- 137 s versus Group PK 164 +/- 67 s) and required significantly less supplemental sedation (Group P 1.1 +/- 1.9 mL versus Group PK 0.15 +/- 0.3 mL). Additionally, none of the Group PK patients required ventilatory assistance, but two patients in Group P required assisted mask ventilation. In conclusion, the addition of ketamine (13.2 +/- 3.3 mg) to propofol (44 +/- 11 mg) decreased the hypnotic requirement and improved the quality of sedation without prolonging recovery.


Anesthesiologists frequently perform retrobulbar blocks while simultaneously providing sedation. Using ketamine to supplement propofol sedation provided a faster onset and improved the quality of sedation during the retrobulbar block procedure.

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