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Anesth Analg. 2012 Jul;115(1):139-46. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e318253708c. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Absence of tachycardia during hypotension in children undergoing craniofacial reconstruction surgery.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th Street and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4399, USA.



Tachycardia is a baroreceptor-mediated response to hypotension. Heart rate (HR) behavior in the setting of hypotension in anesthetized children is not well characterized. We conducted this study to assess the relationship between HR and hypotension in a population of anesthetized children experiencing massive blood loss. Our primary hypothesis was that HR would be increased with the onset of hypotension associated with hypovolemia in comparison with time points without hypotension.


We performed a query of our prospective craniofacial perioperative registry for children younger than 24 months who underwent cranial vault reconstruction surgery. Demographic and perioperative data were extracted, and the intraoperative blood loss was calculated. Vital signs were extracted from our computerized anesthesia record and analyzed. Hypotension was defined as a mean arterial blood pressure <40 mm Hg for at least 3 computerized anesthesia record entries (captured every 15 seconds). The preoperative HR, the average HR over the entire intraoperative period, the HR at the onset of hypotension, and the HR 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the hypotensive episode were compared.


The registry query yielded data from 57 procedures. There were 29 episodes of hypotension occurring in 10 subjects. There was no significant difference in HR at the onset of hypotension (when mean arterial blood pressure decreased below 40 mm Hg) in comparison with the preoperative HR, the average intraoperative HR, or in comparison with 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after the episode of hypotension.


In this study of anesthetized children younger than 24 months undergoing surgery with massive blood loss, hypotension was not associated with an increased HR. HR does not appear to be a useful indicator of hypovolemia in this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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