Intraoperative Ketamine Versus Saline in Depressed Patients Undergoing Anesthesia for Non-cardiac Surgery

This double-blind, randomized clinical trial (n=45) evaluated whether ketamine, given as part of an anaesthetic, improves depression symptoms in depressed patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery. Half of the participants received a ketamine infusion during surgery, while the other half received a placebo (normal saline).

Status Completed
Results Published Yes
Start date 22 August 2019
End date 01 January 2022
Chance of happening 100%
Phase Phase IV
Design Blinded
Type Interventional
Generation First
Participants 45
Sex All
Age 18- 80
Therapy No

Trial Details

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is widely prevalent among patients preparing to have surgery, and is a known risk factor for complications after surgery, including wound infection, myocardial infarction and opioid use disorder. Ketamine has emerged as an effective, rapid-acting antidepressant therapy for patients with MDD, and may be a useful tool to prevent MDD-related morbidity in the perioperative period. Ketamine has been well studied for MDD in outpatient clinics where it is given as an infusion (0.5 mg/kg over 40 minutes) in awake patients. Ketamine is often used as part of an anesthetic cocktail in sedated or anesthetized patients, but it is unknown whether ketamine has an antidepressant effect in this context. The investigators will determine whether a ketamine infusion, compared to placebo (normal saline infusion), has an antidepressant effect when given during surgical anesthesia. If ketamine is an effective antidepressant in this population under anesthesia, its use could be incorporated into a set of interventions to minimize the perioperative complications associated with MDD.

NCT Number NCT03861988

Sponsors & Collaborators

Stanford University
Researchers at Stanford are exploring the potential of ketamine, MDMA and psilocybin by connecting neuroscience, psychiatry and anesthesiology.


Randomized trial of ketamine masked by surgical anesthesia in patients with depression
This triple-masked, randomized, placebo-controlled trial (n=40) of adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) found no short-term effect on depression severity (measured by MADRS) after a single dose of intravenous ketamine (35mg/70kg) compared to placebo (saline) during anaesthesia for routine surgery.

Measures Used

Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale
The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) is a frequently used self-rating scale developed to assess psychological distress in non-psychiatric patients.

Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale
A ten-item diagnostic questionnaire used to measure the severity of depressive symptoms in patients with mood disorders.

Data attribution

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