Permissive hypotension versus conventional resuscitation strategies in adult trauma patients with hemorrhagic shock: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2018 May;84(5):802-808. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000001816.


Background: Aggressive fluid resuscitation in trauma promotes deleterious effects such as clot disruption, dilutional coagulopathy and hypothermia. Animal studies suggest that permissive hypotension maintains appropriate organ perfusion, reduces bleeding and improves mortality. This review assesses the efficacy and safety of permissive hypotension in adult trauma patients with hemorrhagic shock.

Methods: We searched the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases from inception to May 2017 for randomized controlled trials comparing permissive hypotension vs. conventional resuscitation following traumatic injury. We included preoperative and intraoperative resuscitation strategies. The primary outcome was 30-day or in-hospital mortality. Secondary outcomes included blood product utilization, estimated blood loss and in-hospital complications. Pooling was performed with a random-effects model.

Results: We screened 722 abstracts, from which five randomized trials evaluating 1,158 patients were included. Blood pressure targets in the intervention arms varied from systolic BP 50 mm Hg to 70 mm Hg or mean arterial pressure of 50 mm Hg or higher as compared to systolic BP 65 mm Hg to 100 mm Hg or mean arterial pressure of 65 or higher in the control arms. Two studies evaluated only patients with penetrating injury while the remaining three additionally included blunt injuries. Four trials suggested a survival benefit for 30-day or in-hospital mortality with hypotensive resuscitation, although three studies were insufficiently powered to find statistical significance. Studies were of poor to moderate quality due to poor protocol reporting and lack of blinding. The pooled odds ratio was 0.70 (95% confidence interval, 0.53-0.92), suggesting a survival benefit for permissive hypotension. Those patients received fewer blood products and had lesser estimated blood loss.

Conclusion: Permissive hypotension may offer a survival benefit over conventional resuscitation for patients with hemorrhagic injury. It may additionally reduce blood loss and blood product utilization. However, the majority of studies were underpowered, thus reflecting a need for high quality, adequately powered trials.

Prospero registration: Systematic Review, level II.CRD42017070526.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Fluid Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / etiology
  • Hypotension / physiopathology
  • Hypotension / therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Resuscitation / methods*
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / complications
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / physiopathology
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / therapy*
  • Wounds, Penetrating / complications*
  • Wounds, Penetrating / therapy