Purpose of review
Intraoperative hypotension (IOH) may render patients at a risk of cerebral hypoperfusion with decreasing cerebral blood flow (CBF), and lead to postoperative neurological injury. On the basis of the literature in recent years, this review attempts to refine the definition of IOH and evaluate its impact on neurological outcomes.
Although both absolute and relative blood pressure (BP) thresholds, with or without a cumulative period, have been used in collective clinical studies, no definitive threshold of IOH has been established for neurological complications, including perioperative stroke, postoperative cognitive disorder and delirium. The CBF is jointly modulated by multiple pressure processes (i.e. cerebral pressure autoregulation) and nonpressure processes, including patient, surgical and anaesthesia-related confounding factors. The confounding factors and variability in cerebral pressure autoregulation might impede evaluating the effect of IOH on the neurological outcomes. Furthermore, the majority of the evidence presented in this review are cohort studies, which are weak in demonstrating a cause--effect relationship between IOH and neurological complications. The maintenance of target BP based on the monitoring of regional cerebral oxygen saturation (rScO2) or cerebral pressure autoregulation seems to be associated with the decreased incidence of postoperative neurological complications.
Despite the lack of a known threshold value, IOH is a modifiable risk factor targeted to improve neurological outcomes. Ideal BP management is recommended in order to maintain target BP based on the monitoring of rScO2 or cerebral pressure autoregulation.