Palliative Ketamine: The Use of Ketamine in Central Post-Stroke Pain Syndrome - A Case Report


South Atlantic


Grand Strand Medical Center

Document Type


Publication Date



Central post-stroke pain syndrome (CPSP), case report, ketamine, palliative medicine, thalamic pain syndrome


Cardiovascular Diseases | Palliative Care | Therapeutics


Ketamine has played a versatile role in medicine due to its wide spectrum of uses in history including use in sedation, catalepsy, somatic analgesia, bronchodilation, and recent trial in complex chronic pain syndromes. There is very little, if any, discussion in the literature of ketamine use in stroke, particularly in improving symptoms of pain after stroke. We present a case of a 40-year-old female with a past medical history of right-sided thalamic ischemic stroke complicated by Central post-stroke pain syndrome (CPSP) presented for refractory severe diffuse pain causing debility and immobility. The patient failed outpatient medical therapy consisting of anxiolytics, serotonin, and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. This led to increased opioid use which resulted in dependence and opioid-hyperalgesia. Upon admission, the patient was unable to sit still, with severe, sharp 10/10 pain localized to her left lower extremity. Palliative medicine was consulted for management of refractory central neuropathic pain. Inpatient oral ketamine was initiated, and titrated over the patient's hospital course. During this time, the patient showed marked improvement in GAD-7, PHQ-9, and Short Mcgill pain scores while significantly decreasing opioid requirements. We present this case to demonstrate how oral ketamine usage in centrally mediated neuropathic pain such as in CPSP can lead to pain control, decreased opioid usage, and overall improved quality of life.

Publisher or Conference

Annals of Palliative Medicine