Sedation with ketamine during intradiscal electrothermal therapy

Steven P. Cohen, Thomas Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Study Design. A technical report. Objectives. To present a new and improved method to sedate patients during intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET). Summary of Background Data. The current standard of practice is to sedate patients with short-acting benzodiazepines and opioids during the coagulation phase of intradiscal electrothermal therapy. There are few data on the subject, but it is estimated that between 5% and 20% of IDET procedures are either aborted early or switched to a lower heating temperature because patients cannot tolerate the optimal, recommended heating protocol. A priori, one must assume these patients are more likely to fail their treatment than those who are able to tolerate complete heating. Methods. The authors treated 9 patients receiving intradiscal electrothermal therapy who were unable to tolerate the latter portion of their heating protocol secondary to axial low back pain despite high doses of opioids, with low dose ketamine. This paper outlines our experience with "rescue" doses of ketamine, along with the rationale and guidelines for its use. Results. After receiving ketamine, all patients were able to complete the full intradiscal electrothermal therapy heating protocol. The rescue dosages of ketamine ranged from 15 to 55 mg. The dosages of midazolam used to prevent the psychomimetic effects of ketamine ranged from 3 to 7 mg. Oxygen saturation and hemodynamic parameters did not change significantly after ketamine was administered, and all patients remained responsive throughout the procedure. There were no adverse effects or complications reported. Conclusions. When used judiciously to treat axial back pain during intradiscal electrothermal therapy heating, ketamine is a safe and effective rescue medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1590-1592
Number of pages3
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2004


  • Analgesia
  • Back pain
  • Intradiscal electrothermal therapy
  • Ketamine
  • N-methyl-D-aspartate
  • Sedation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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