BACKGROUND: Narrow pulse pressure has been demonstrated to indicate low central volume status. In critically ill patients, volume status can be qualitatively evaluated using Doppler velocimetry to assess hemodynamic changes in the carotid artery in response to autotransfusion with passive leg raise (PLR). Neither parameter has been prospectively evaluated in an obstetric population. The objective of this study was to determine if pulse pressure could predict the response to autotransfusion using carotid artery Doppler in healthy intrapartum women. We hypothesized that the carotid artery Doppler response to PLR would be greater in women with a narrow pulse pressure, indicating relative hypovolemia.
METHODS: Intrapartum women with singleton gestations ≥35 weeks without acute or chronic medical conditions were recruited to this prospective cohort study. Participants were grouped by admission pulse pressure as <45 mm Hg (narrow) or ≥50 mm Hg (normal). Maternal carotid artery Doppler assessment was then performed in all patients before and after PLR using a standard technique where carotid blood flow (mL/min) = π × (carotid artery diameter/2)2 × (velocity time integral) × (60 seconds). The velocity time integral was calculated from the Doppler waveform. The primary outcome was the change in the carotid Doppler parameters (carotid artery diameter, velocity time integral, and carotid blood flow) after PLR. Outcomes were compared between study groups with univariable and multivariable analyses with adjustment for potential confounding factors.
RESULTS: Thirty-three women consented to participation, including 18 in the narrow and 15 in the normal pulse pressure groups (mean and standard deviation initial pulse pressure, 38.3 ± 4.4 vs 57.3 ± 4.1 mm Hg). The 2 groups demonstrated similar characteristics except for initial pulse pressure, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and race. In response to PLR, the narrow pulse pressure group had a significantly greater increase in carotid artery diameter (0.08 vs 0.02 cm; standardized difference, 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16–2.84), carotid blood flow (79.4 vs 16.0 mL/min; standardized difference, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.36–3.10), and percent change in carotid blood flow (47.5% vs 8.7%; standardized difference, 2.52; 95% CI, 1.60–3.43) compared with the normal pulse pressure group. In multivariable analysis with adjustment for potential confounding factors, women with narrow admission pulse pressure had a significantly larger carotid diameter (0.66 vs 0.62 cm; P < .0001) and greater carotid flow (246.7 vs 219.3 cm/s; P = .001) after PLR compared to women with a normal pulse pressure. Initial pulse pressure was strongly correlated with the change in carotid flow after PLR (r 2 = 0.60; P < .0001).
CONCLUSIONS: The hemodynamic response of the carotid artery to autotransfusion after PLR is significantly greater in women with narrow pulse pressure. Pulse pressure correlates with the physiological response to autotransfusion and provides a qualitative indication of intravascular volume in term and near-term pregnant women.