Among hypertensive and diabetic patients undergoing elective noncardiac surgery, preoperative status and intraoperative changes in mean arterial pressure (MAP) were evaluated as predictors of postoperative ischemic complications. Of 254 patients evaluated before operation and monitored during operation, 30 (12%) had postoperative cardiac death, ischemia, or infarction. Twenty-four per cent of patients with a previous myocardial infarction or cardiomegaly had an ischemic postoperative cardiac complication. Only 7% of those without either of these conditions sustained an ischemic complication. No other preoperative characteristics, including the presence of angina, predicted ischemic cardiac risk. Nineteen per cent of patients who had 20 mm Hg or more intraoperative decreases in MAP lasting 60 minutes or more had ischemic cardiac complications. Patients who had more than 20 mm Hg decreases in MAP lasting 5 to 59 minutes and more than 20 mm Hg increases lasting 15 minutes or more also had increased complications (p < 0.03). Changes in pulse were not independent predictors of complications and the use of the rate-pressure product did not improve prediction based on MAP alone. In conclusion patients with a previous infarction or radiographic cardiomegaly are at high risk for postoperative ischemic complications. Prolonged intraoperative increases or decreases of 20 mm or more in MAP also resulted in a significant increase in these potentially life-threatening surgical complications.
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