The relationship between postoperative adverse events and blood pressures in the preoperative period remains poorly understood. This study tested the hypothesis that day-of-surgery preoperative blood pressures are associated with postoperative adverse events.


We conducted a retrospective, observational study of adult patients having elective procedures requiring an inpatient stay between November 2017 and July 2021 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to examine the independent associations between preoperative systolic and diastolic blood pressures (SBP, DBP) recorded immediately before anesthesia care and number of postoperative adverse events – myocardial injury, stroke, acute kidney injury (AKI), and mortality, while adjusting for potential confounders. We used multivariable ordinal logistic regression to model the relationship.


The analysis included 57,389 cases. The overall incidence of myocardial injury, stroke, AKI, and mortality within 30 days of surgery was 3.4% (1,967 events), 0.4% (223), 10.2% (5,871), and 2.1% (1,223), respectively. The independent associations between both SBP and DBP measurements and number of postoperative adverse events were found to be U-shaped, with greater risk both above and below SBP 143 mmHg and DBP 86 mmHg – the troughs of the curves. The associations were strongest at SBP 173 mmHg (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.212 versus 143 mmHg; 95% CI, 1.021 to 1.439; p = 0.028), SBP 93 mmHg (aOR 1.339 versus 143 mmHg; 95% CI, 1.211 to 1.479; p < 0.001), DBP 106 mmHg (aOR 1.294 versus 86 mmHg; 95% CI, 1.003 to 1.17671; p = 0.048), and DBP 46 mmHg (aOR 1.399 versus 86 mmHg; 95% CI, 1.244 to 1.558; p < 0.001).


Preoperative blood pressures both below and above a specific threshold were independently associated with a higher number of postoperative adverse events, but the data do not support specific strategies for managing patients with low or high blood pressure on the day of surgery.