Definition and incidence of hypotension in intensive care unit patients, an international survey of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine

Cardiovascular Dynamics Section of the ESICM, on behalf of the Cardiovascular Dynamics Section of the ESICM

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Although hypotension in ICU patients is associated with adverse outcome, currently used definitions are unknown and no universally accepted definition exists. Methods: We conducted an international, peer-reviewed survey among ICU physicians and nurses to provide insight in currently used definitions, estimations of incidence, and duration of hypotension. Results: Out of 1394 respondents (1055 physicians (76%) and 339 nurses (24%)), 1207 (82%) completed the questionnaire. In all patient categories, hypotension definitions were predominantly based on an absolute MAP of 65 mmHg, except for the neuro(trauma) category (75 mmHg, p < 0.001), without differences between answers from physicians and nurses. Hypotension incidence was estimated at 55%, and time per day spent in hypotension at 15%, both with nurses reporting higher percentages than physicians (estimated mean difference 5%, p = 0.01; and 4%, p < 0.001). Conclusions: An absolute MAP threshold of 65 mmHg is most frequently used to define hypotension in ICU patients. In neuro(trauma) patients a higher threshold was reported. The majority of ICU patients are estimated to endure hypotension during their ICU admission for a considerable amount of time, with nurses reporting a higher estimated incidence and time spent in hypotension than physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Blood pressure
  • Critical care
  • Hypotension
  • Intensive care units
  • Surveys and questionnaires

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