METHODS: In this retrospective cohort analysis, we considered adults who had complex spine surgery between January 2005 and September 2014 at the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus. Our primary outcome was postoperative estimated glomerular filtration rate. Secondarily, we evaluated renal function using Acute Kidney Injury Network criteria. We obtained data for 1814 surgeries, including 689 patients (38%) who were given intraoperative vasopressors infusion for ≥30 minutes and 1125 patients (62%) who were not. Five hundred forty patients with and 540 patients without vasopressor infusions were well matched across 32 potential confounding variables.
RESULTS: In matched patients, vasopressor infusions lasted an average of 173 ± 100 minutes (SD) and were given a median dose (1st quintile, 3rd quintile) of 3.4-mg (1.5, 6.7 mg) phenylephrine equivalents. Mean arterial pressure and the amounts of hypotension were similar in each matched group. The postoperative difference in mean estimated glomerular filtration rate in patients with and without vasopressor infusions was only 0.8 mL/min/1.73 m2 (95% CI, −0.6 to 2.2 mL/min/1.73 m2) (P = .28). Intraoperative vasopressor infusion was also not associated with increased odds of augmented acute kidney injury stage.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should not avoid typical perioperative doses of vasopressors for fear of promoting kidney injury. Tolerating hypotension to avoid vasopressor use would probably be a poor strategy.