Association between elevated central venous pressure and outcomes in critically ill patients

Ann Intensive Care. 2017 Aug 9;7(1):83. doi: 10.1186/s13613-017-0306-1.


Background: Some prior studies have shown that elevated mean central venous pressure in certain patient populations and disease processes may lead to poor prognosis. However, these studies failed to generalize the concept of elevated central venous pressure (ECVP) load to all patients in critical care settings because of the limited cases and exclusive cohorts. The aim of the study was to investigate the association between elevated central venous pressure and outcomes in critical care.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis on a single-center public database (MIMIC) of more than 9000 patients and more than 500,000 records of central venous pressure measurement. We evaluated the association between mean central venous pressure level and 28-day mortality after intensive care unit admission. The secondary outcomes were duration of mechanical ventilation, vasoactive drug use, laboratory results related to organ dysfunction and length of intensive care unit hospitalization. Accordingly, we proposed the concept of ECVP10 (the time sum of CVP above 10 mmHg) and investigated its association with outcome.

Results: There were 1645 deaths at 28 days after admission. Compared with the lowest quartile of mean central venous pressure [mean (SD) 7.4 (1.9) mmHg], the highest quartile [17.4 (4.1) mmHg] was associated with a 33.6% (95% CI 1.117-1.599) higher adjusted risk of death. Poor secondary outcomes were also associated with higher quartiles of elevated mean central venous pressure. After stratification by mean central venous pressure, elevated duration of central venous pressure above 10 mmHg was significantly higher in the non-survival group than in the survival group.

Conclusions: Elevated central venous pressure level correlated with poor outcomes and prolonged treatment in critical care settings. Level and duration of elevated central venous pressure should be both evaluated to establish its cause and apply appropriate treatment.

Keywords: Central venous pressure; Critical care; Survival.