Objectives: We aimed to: (1) assess the association of average, low, high and variable mean blood pressure (mbp) on death and the common morbidities of very low birthweight infants, and in doing so, (2) to derive representative reference ranges for mbp in very low birthweight infants.
Study design: This five year retrospective study assessed 1 min computer recordings of intra-arterial mbp in 232 very low birthweight infants over the first 7 days of life in a tertiary NICU. Four measures of mbp were assessed: average, variability, maximum (per time period), and percentage of time with a mean blood pressure less than the infant's gestation. Correlation was made with death and the development of intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
Results: The mbp increased with increasing birthweight and postnatal age (though with a slight decrease on days 6 and 7). Birthweight, gestation and colloid support (adjusted for birthweight and gestation) were the only factors significantly associated with mbp. IVH was predominantly associated with a low and variable mbp on the day IVH was noted or the day before. PVL and ROP were not associated with blood pressure.
Conclusions: These reference ranges include more infants and data than previously published and relate mbp in this cohort to morbidity and mortality. They could assist clinicians in judging appropriate mbp for birthweight.