Objective : Hypotension is associated with increased mortality, however previous studies have failed to account for the depth and duration of hypotension. We evaluated the effect of the duration of hypotension on outcome in injured patients.
Methods : Trauma patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) from 1999 to 2000 were prospectively evaluated. Patients transferred to a ward ≤ 48 hours after admission were excluded. The lowest systolic blood pressure and duration of all episodes of systolic blood pressure below 90 mm Hg were recorded along with the total ICU length of stay and discharge status. The Kruskal-Wallis test, Pearson χ2, and test for trend were used for analysis.
Results : Patients with hypotension during the first 24 hours of ICU care had an increased mortality rate. A brief (≤ 10 minutes) episode of hypotension was associated with increased mortality that increased with duration of hypotension (p = 0.0001). ICU length of stay also increased with duration of hypotension (p = 0.0001).
Conclusion : Brief episodes of hypotension are associated with an increased risk of death in patients requiring admission to the ICU after injury and a longer ICU recovery for those who survive.