Incidence of Intraoperative Hypotension During Non-Cardiac Surgery in Community Anesthesia Practice: A Retrospective Observational Analysis

Incidence of Intraoperative Hypotension During Non-Cardiac Surgery in Community Anesthesia Practice: A Retrospective Observational Analysis

Published: Jun 24, 2023
Publisher: Perioperative Medicine, vol. 12, issue 1

Wael Saasouh

Desirée Chappell

Josh Lumbley

Brian Woods

Monty Mythen

Richard P. Dutton


Intraoperative hypotension (IOH) is well-described in the academic setting but not in community practice. IOH is associated with risk of postoperative morbidity and mortality. This is the first report of IOH in the community setting using the IOH measure definition from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Merit-based Incentive Payment System program. Objectives: To describe the incidence of IOH in the community setting; assess variation in IOH by patient-, procedure-, and facility-level characteristics; and describe variation in risk-adjusted IOH across clinicians.



Cross-sectional descriptive analysis of retrospective data from anesthesia records in 2020 and 2021.


Forty-five facilities affiliated with two large anesthesia providers in the USA.


Patients aged 18 years or older having non-emergent, non-cardiac surgery under general, neuraxial, or regional anesthesia. Cases were excluded based on criteria for the IOH measure: baseline mean arterial pressure (MAP) below 65 mmHg prior to anesthesia induction; American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status classification of I, V, or VI; monitored anesthesia care only; deliberate induced hypotension; obstetric non-operative procedures; liver or lung transplant; cataract surgery; non-invasive gastrointestinal cases.

Main outcomes

IOH, using four definitions. Primary definition: binary assessment of whether the case had MAP < 65 mmHg for 15 min or more. Secondary definitions: total number of minutes of MAP < 65 mmHg, total area under MAP of 65 mmHg, time-weighted average MAP < 65 mmHg.


Among 127,095 non-emergent, non-cardiac cases in community anesthesia settings, 29% had MAP < 65 mmHg for at least 15 min cumulatively, with an overall mean of 12.4 min < 65 mmHg. IOH was slightly more common in patients who were younger, female, and ASA II (versus III or IV); in procedures that were longer and had higher anesthesia base units; and in ambulatory surgery centers. Incidence of IOH varied widely across individual clinicians in both unadjusted and risk-adjusted analyses.


Intraoperative hypotension is common in community anesthesia practice, including among patients and settings typically considered “low risk.” Variation in incidence across clinicians remains after risk-adjustment, suggesting that IOH is a modifiable risk worth pursuing in quality improvement initiatives.

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