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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nebulized Ketamine Used for Managing Ankle Fracture in the Prehospital Emergency Setting: A Case Report


Introduction: Acute traumatic limb injury is a common complaint of patients presenting to the emergency department (ED). Ketamine is an effective analgesic administered via intravenous (IV), intranasal (IN), intramuscular (IM), and nebulized routes in the ED. It has also been used in the prehospital setting via IV, IM, and IN routes. Recent studies have proposed the prehospital use of nebulized ketamine via breath-actuated nebulizer (BAN) as a noninvasive and effective method of analgesic delivery, as well as an alternative to opioid analgesia.

Case Report: We present a case of a patient with right ankle fracture after a 12-foot fall who subsequently received 0.75 milligrams per kilogram of nebulized ketamine via BAN in the prehospital setting. The patient reported improvement of pain from 8/10 to 3/10 on the pain scale without need for additional pain medication during prehospital transport. This report supports the use of nebulized ketamine via BAN in the prehospital setting for acute traumatic limb injuries.

Conclusion: The use of nebulized ketamine via BAN in the prehospital setting may be an effective analgesic option for the management of patients with acute traumatic limb injuries, particularly in those with difficult IV access, where mucosal atomization devices are not accessible, or where opioid-sparing treatments are preferable.

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