While monitoring blood pressure is a routine part of intraoperative management, several methods have been proposed to characterize intraoperative hemodynamic patterns as predictors of postoperative complications. In this prospective study of a high-risk population of hypertensive and diabetic patients undergoing elective noncardiac surgery, one objective was to compare dif-ferent approaches to the assessment of intraoperative hemodynamic patterns to identify those patterns most likely to be associated with postoperative complications. Twenty-one per cent of the 254 patients sustained cardiac or renal complications after operation. Patients with more than 1 hour of ≥20-mmHg decreases in mean arterial pressure (MAP) or patients with less than 1 hour of ≥20-mmHg decreases and more than 15 minutes of ≥20-mmHg increases were at highest risk for postoperative complications. Together these two patterns had a 46% sensitivity rate and a 70% specificity rate in predicting postoperative complications. Using 20% change in intraoperative MAP produced results nearly identical to 20-mmHg changes. When the duration of 20-mmHg changes was accounted for, changes of a greater magnitude (e.g., 40 mmHg) were not significant independent predictors of complications. The use of the mean difference from preoperative MAP was misleading because patients who experienced both high and low MAPs tended to have nearly normal mean MAPs, but high complication rates. The absolute magnitude of intraoperative MAPs, regardless of the preoperative levels, also was evaluated. The overall mean intraoperative MAP was not a significant predictor of complications. Specific intraoperative MAPs (e.g., less than 70 mmHg and more than 120 mmHg) also were evaluated. While neither was a significant predictor, there was a trend for increased complications among patients whose MAPs decreased to less than 70 mmHg. Intra-operative blood pressure should be analyzed in relation to the patient's preoperative blood pressure. Prolonged changes of more than 20 mmHg or 20% in relation to preoperative levels were significantly related to complications.
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