[Perioperative blood pressure management : What is the optimal pressure?]

M Welte, B Saugel, D A Reuter
Der Anaesthesist 2020 April 15

BACKGROUND: Measurement of blood pressure is part of standard monitoring procedures in anesthesia, in addition to the other vital parameters of heart frequency and peripheral oxygen saturation. In recent years the relevance of the duration and extent of perioperative episodes of hypotension for the occurrence of postoperative complications or even increased mortality have become the focus of scientific investigations.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review is to briefly recapitulate the physiological aspects of blood pressure and to describe the pathophysiology and risk factors of perioperative hypotension. It describes which potential organ damage can be caused by hypotension and discusses which perioperative blood pressure values are acceptable without harming the patient.

METHODS: Review and analysis of the currently available literature.

RESULTS: Perioperative hypotension is defined by either absolute systolic arterial pressure (SAP) or mean arterial pressure (MAP) thresholds and by relative blood pressure declines from an individual preoperative baseline value. For the definition of absolute and relative thresholds it needs to be considered that the ultimate target is an adequate perfusion pressure (and not the MAP) and that the preinduction blood pressure is a poor reflection of the patients' normal blood pressure profile. Risk factors for an intraoperative drop in blood pressure are advanced age, higher American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) status, low blood pressure prior to induction of anesthesia, the premedication, e.g. angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, the anesthesia technique (combination of general and epidural anesthesia) and emergency surgery. The lowest tolerable intraoperative blood pressure should be defined according to the individual patient's preoperative blood pressure and risk profile. Individual thresholds should be determined for the severity and duration of intraoperative hypotension. Empirically, MAP values <65 mm Hg and relative pressure declines of >20-30% are often recommended as thresholds. Below critical blood pressure values the risk of postoperative organ damage (myocardium, kidneys and central nervous system) and mortality increases with longer duration of hypotension. Older people and high-risk patients (e.g. patients in vascular surgery) have a poorer and shorter tolerance of low blood pressure. Postoperative organ complications can be minimized by maintenance of an adequate intraoperative blood pressure CONCLUSION: Anesthesiologists should avoid extensive and prolonged hypotension by timely interventions in order to improve the postoperative outcome of patients.

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