Background: It has been suggested that longer-term postsurgical outcome may be adversely affected by less than severe hypotension under anesthesia. However, evidence-based guidelines are unavailable. The present study was designed to develop a method for identifying patients at increased risk of death within 30 days in association with the severity and duration of intraoperative hypotension.
Methods: Intraoperative mean arterial blood pressure recordings of 152,445 adult patients undergoing noncardiac surgery were analyzed for periods of time accumulated below each one of the 31 thresholds between 75 and 45 mm Hg (hypotensive exposure times). In a development cohort of 35,904 patients, the associations were sought between each of these 31 cumulative hypotensive exposure times and 30-day postsurgical mortality. On the basis of covariable-adjusted percentage increases in the odds of mortality per minute elapsed of hypotensive exposure time, certain sets of exposure time limits were calculated that portended certain percentage increases in the odds of mortality. A novel risk-scoring method was conceived by counting the number of exposure time limits that had been exceeded within each respective set, one of them being called the SLUScore. The validity of this new method in identifying patients at increased risk was tested in a multicenter validation cohort consisting of 116,541 patients from Cleveland Clinic, Vanderbilt and Saint Louis Universities. Data were expressed as 95% confidence interval, P < .05 considered significant.
Results: Progressively greater hypotensive exposures were associated with greater 30-day mortality. In the development cohort, covariable-adjusted (age, Charlson score, case duration, history of hypertension) exposure limits were identified for time accumulated below each of the thresholds that portended certain identical (5%-50%) percentage expected increases in the odds of mortality. These exposure time limit sets were shorter in patients with a history of hypertension. A novel risk score, the SLUScore (range 0-31), was conceived as the number of exposure limits exceeded for one of these sets (20% set). A SLUScore > 0 (average 13.8) was found in 40% of patients who had twice the mortality, adjusted odds increasing by 5% per limit exceeded. When tested in the validation cohort, a SLUScore > 0 (average 14.1) identified 35% of patients who had twice the mortality, each incremental limit exceeded portending a 5% compounding increase in adjusted odds of mortality, independent of age and Charlson score (C = 0.73, 0.72-0.74, P < .05).
Conclusions: The SLUScore represents a novel method for identifying nearly 1 in every 3 patients experiencing greater 30-day mortality portended by more severe intraoperative hypotensive exposures.