Intraoperative Dexmedetomidine and Ketamine Infusions in an Enhanced Recovery After Thoracic Surgery Program: A Propensity Score Matched Analysis

Gabriel E. Mena, Andres Zorrilla-Vaca, Ara Vaporciyan, Reza Mehran, Javier D. Lasala, Wendell Williams, Carla Patel, Ta Charra Woodward, Brittany Kruse, Girish Joshi, David Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: To assess the impact of intraoperative dexmedetomidine and ketamine on postoperative pain and opioid consumption within an ERAS program in thoracic pulmonary oncologic surgery. Design: Retrospective, propensity-score matched analysis Setting: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program. Participants: Patients undergoing thoracic pulmonary oncologic surgery between March 2016 and April 2020. Interventions: Continuous infusion of dexmedetomidine and ketamine. Measurements & Main Results: The authors initially analyzed data of 1,630 patients undergoing thoracic pulmonary oncologic surgery within their ERAS program. In total, 117 matched pairs were included in this analysis. Patients in the intraoperative dexmedetomidine + ketamine group were more likely to be opioid-free (76.6% vs 60.9%, P<0.01). Raw analysis showed lower pain scores at PACU admission (2.8±2.0 vs 3.4±2.0, P=0.03) and less opioid consumption at PACU admission (5 MED [0-10] vs 7.5 MED [0-15], P=0.03) in the dexmedetomidine + ketamine group; however, these differences were not present after adjusting for multiplicity. There were no significant differences in the length of PACU stay (1.9 hours [1.5-2.8] vs 2.0 hours [1.4-2.9], P=0.48) or hospital stay (three days [two-five] vs three days [two-five], P=0.08). Both groups had similar rates of pulmonary complications (5.9% vs 9.4%, P=0.326), ileus (0.9% vs 0.9%, P=1.00), and 30-day readmission (2.6% vs 4.3%, P=0.722). Conclusions: There were no differences in postoperative pain scores and opioid consumption throughout their hospital stay between patients receiving concomitant dexmedetomidine and ketamine infusions versus patients who did not receive these infusions during thoracic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1064-1072
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Multimodal analgesia
  • Opioid-free anesthesia
  • Postoperative Pain
  • Postoperative outcomes
  • Thoracic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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