Background: The function of internal systems can be influenced significantly by hypernatremia, even anesthesia may be affected by this electrolyte imbalance. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a single anesthetic dose of ketamine in an experimental rat model of chronic hypernatremia. Methods: Sixty male Wistar rats, weighing 300(±20)g, were allocated randomly to three groups: the control group received drinking water and test groups 1 and 2 received 1% and 2% NaCl, respectively, for 144 hours. We measured the parameters of sensitivity to the ketamine injection (125mg/kg) including length of times to the inhibition of the righting reflex, inhibition of the response to painful stimulus and the times to the reappearance of the response to painful stimulus and recovery from anesthesia. We also determined the mortality rates during anesthesia. Results: The times for inhibition of the righting reflex and response to painful stimulus for group 2 were significantly shorter than those for group 1 and the control group. The times for the reappearance of response to painful stimulus and full recovery from anesthesia in group 2 were significantly longer than those of group 1 and the control group. Conclusions: Hypernatremia affects ketamine anesthesia in the rat, increasing the speed of passing through the different steps of anesthesia. The duration of ketamine efficacy increases, while recovery from anesthesia is significantly delayed.
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