Higher blood pressure versus normotension targets to prevent acute kidney injury: a systematic review and meta-regression of randomized controlled trials

Crit Care. 2022 Nov 25;26(1):364. doi: 10.1186/s13054-022-04236-1.


Background: Renal hypoperfusion is one of the most common causes of acute kidney injury (AKI), especially in shock and perioperative patients. An optimal blood pressure (BP) target to prevent AKI remains undetermined. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of available randomized clinical trial (RCT) results to address this knowledge gap.

Methods: From inception to May 13, 2022, we searched Ovid Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, SCOPUS, clinicaltrials.gov, and WHO ICTRP for RCTs comparing higher BP target versus normotension in hemodynamically unstable patients (shock, post-cardiac arrest, or surgery patients). The outcomes of interest were post-intervention AKI rate and renal replacement therapy (RRT) rate. Two investigators independently screened the citations and reviewed the full texts for eligible studies according to a predefined form.

Results: Twelve trials were included, enrolling a total of 5759 participants, with shock, non-cardiac, and cardiac surgery patients accounting for 3282 (57.0%), 1687 (29.3%) and 790 (13.7%) patients, respectively. Compared to lower mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) targets that served as normotension, targeting higher MAP had no significant effect on AKI rates in shock (RR [95% CI] = 1.10 [0.93, 1.29]), in cardiac-surgery (RR [95% CI] = 0.87 [0.73, 1.03]) and non-cardiac surgery patients (RR [95% CI] = 1.25 [0.98, 1.60]) using random-effects meta-analyses. In shock patients with premorbid hypertension, however, targeting MAP above 70 mmHg resulted in significantly lower RRT risks, RR [95%CI] = 1.20 [1.03, 1.41], p < 0.05.

Conclusions: Targeting a higher MAP in shock or perioperative patients may not be superior to normotension, except in shock patients with premorbid hypertension. Further studies are needed to assess the effects of a high MAP target to preventing AKI in hypertensive patients across common settings of hemodynamic instability. Trial registration This systematic review has been registered on PROSPERO ( CRD42021286203 ) on November 19, 2021, prior to data extraction and analysis.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury; Hypertension; Mean arterial blood pressure; Perioperative; Renal replacement therapy; Shock.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury* / prevention & control
  • Blood Pressure
  • Humans
  • Hypertension*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Renal Replacement Therapy / methods