Background: Postoperative hypotension is common after major non-cardiac surgery, due predominantly to vasodilation. Administration of infused vasopressors postoperatively may often be considered a surrogate indicator of vasodilation. The incidence of postoperative vasopressors has never been described for non-cardiac surgery, nor have outcomes associated with their use. This paper presents a protocol for a prospective international cohort study to address these gaps in knowledge. The primary objectives are to estimate the proportion of patients who receive postoperative vasopressor infusions (PVI) and to document the variation in this proportion between hospitals and internationally. Furthermore, we will identify factors in variation of care (patient, condition, surgery, and intraoperative management) associated with receipt of PVI and investigate how PVI use is associated with patient outcomes, including organ dysfunction, length of hospital stay, and 30-day in-hospital mortality.
Method: This will be a prospective, international, multicentre cohort study that includes all adult (≥ 18 years) non-cardiac surgical patients in participating centres. Patients undergoing cardiac, obstetric, or day-case surgery will be excluded. We will recruit two cohorts of patients: cohort A will include all eligible patients admitted to participating hospitals for seven consecutive days. Cohort B will include 30 sequential patients per hospital, with the single additional inclusion criterion of postoperative vasopressor usage. We expect to collect data on approximately 40,000 patients for cohort A and 12,800 patients for cohort B.
Discussion: While in cardiac surgery, clinical trials have informed the choice of vasopressors used to treat postoperative vasoplegia; there remains equipoise over the best approach in non-cardiac surgery. Our study will represent the first large-scale assessment of the use of vasopressors after non-cardiac surgery. These data will inform future studies, including trials of different vasopressors and potential management options to improve outcomes and reduce resource use after surgery.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03805230, 15 January 2019.
Keywords: Incidence; Multicentre; Observational; Perioperative; Postoperative; Vasopressor.
© 2023. The Author(s).