Ketamine/propofol admixture vs etomidate for intubation in the critically ill: KEEP PACE Randomized clinical trial

Nathan Jerome Smischney, Wayne T. Nicholson, Daniel R. Brown, Alice Gallo De Moraes, Sumedh S. Hoskote, Brian Pickering, Richard A. Oeckler, Vivek N. Iyer, Ognjen Gajic, Darrell R. Schroeder, Philippe R. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Periintubation hypotension is associated with poor outcomes in the critically ill. We aimed to determine if an admixture of ketamine and propofol for emergent endotracheal intubation in critically ill patients was superior to etomidate. Primary endpoint was the change in mean arterial pressure from baseline to 5 minutes postdrug administration. METHODS Emergent-use, stratified (shock status and unit type), multiunit, randomized, parallel-group superiority clinical trial was conducted at a tertiary academic medical center. Adult medical/surgical and transplant/oncologic intensive care unit patients undergoing emergent intubation were assigned randomly to receive either ketamine/propofol admixture (0.5 mg/kg of ketamine and propofol each) or reduced dose etomidate (0.15 mg/kg) for emergent intubation. RESULTS One hundred sixty participants were randomized, and 152 (79 ketamine/propofol admixture, 73 etomidate) were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. There was no statistically significant difference in mean arterial pressure change from baseline to 5 minutes postdrug administration (treatment difference [ketamine/propofol admixture - etomidate]: -2.1 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval, -6.9 mm Hg to +2.7 mm Hg; p = 0.385). In addition, no statistically significant difference was demonstrated in the change of mean arterial pressure from baseline at 10 minutes and 15 minutes postdrug administration, no statistical difference in the use of new-onset vasoactive agents or difficulty of intubation between groups. More patients in the etomidate group required non-red blood cell transfusions (16 [22%] vs. 8 [10%], p = 0.046). For patients who had adrenal testing performed, more patients in the etomidate group developed immediate adrenal insufficiency (13 [81%] of 16 vs. 5 [38%] of 13, p = 0.027). Serious adverse events were rare, 2 (3%) (cardiac arrest, hypotension) in ketamine/propofol admixture and 4 (5%) (hypertension, hypotension) in etomidate (p = 0.430). CONCLUSION In a heterogeneous critically ill population, ketamine/propofol admixture was not superior to a reduced dose of etomidate at preserving per-intubation hemodynamics and appears to be a safe alternative induction agent in the critically ill. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic/Care Management, level II. TRIAL REGISTRY,

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-891
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Blood pressure
  • endotracheal intubation
  • etomidate
  • intensive care unit
  • ketamine-propofol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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