Patient Care

Higher Mean Arterial Pressure in Septic Shock Patients Doesn’t Decrease Mortality


Clinical question: Does targeting a higher mean arterial pressure (MAP) in patients with septic shock lead to decreased mortality compared with targeting a more typical MAP range?

Background: The ideal blood pressure target for patients with septic shock is not currently known. There is some clinical evidence that patients with chronic arterial hypertension may require higher blood pressure to sustain kidney function.

Study design: Multicenter, randomized, stratified, open-label clinical trial.

Setting: ICUs at 29 centers in France

Synopsis: Researchers randomized 776 patients with septic shock to receive vasopressor treatment to maintain a MAP of 80-85 mmHg (high-target group) or 65-70 mmHg (low-target group). There was no significant difference between groups in the primary outcome of death at 28 days (HR in the high target group 1.07; 95% CI 0.84-1.38; P=0.57).

In patients with chronic arterial hypertension, those who were randomized to the high-target group had a reduced risk of doubling of plasma creatinine or need for renal-replacement therapy from days one to seven. Patients in the high-target group received larger amounts of vasopressors and for a longer period of time. There was no difference between the groups in the overall incidence of serious adverse events, though significantly more patients in the high-target group (6.7%) developed new onset atrial fibrillation compared with those in the low-target group (2.8%).

Bottom line: Mortality at 28 days was not significantly different in patients with septic shock who were randomized to a higher MAP target compared to patients who had a lower MAP target; this lower target encompasses the 65 mmHg target that is listed in the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines.

Citation: Asfar P, Meziani F, Hamel JF, et al. High versus low blood-pressure target in patients with septic shock. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(17):1583-1593.

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