IntroductionWe used contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) to estimate the effect of an increase in mean arterial pressure (MAP) induced by noradrenaline infusion on renal microvascular cortical perfusion in critically ill patients.MethodsTwelve patients requiring a noradrenaline infusion to maintain a MAP more than 60?mmHg within 48?hours of intensive care unit admission were included in the study. Renal CEUS scans with destruction-replenishment sequences and Sonovue? (Bracco, Milano Italy) as a contrast agent, were performed at baseline (MAP 60 to 65?mmHg) and after a noradrenaline-induced increase in MAP to 80 to 85?mmHg.ResultsThere was no adverse effect associated with ultrasound contrast agent administration or increase in noradrenaline infusion rate. Adequate images were obtained in all patients at all study times. To reach the higher MAP target, median noradrenaline infusion rate was increased from 10 to 14??g/min.Noradrenaline-induced increases in MAP were not associated with a significant change in overall CEUS derived mean perfusion indices (median perfusion index 3056 (interquartile range: 2438 to 6771) arbitrary units (a.u.) at baseline versus 4101 (3067 to 5981) a.u. after MAP increase, P =0.38). At individual level, however, we observed important heterogeneity in responses (range -51 to +97 changes from baseline).ConclusionsA noradrenaline-induced increase in MAP was not associated with an overall increase in renal cortical perfusion as estimated by CEUS. However, at individual level, such response was heterogeneous and unpredictable suggesting great variability in pressure responsiveness within a cohort with a similar clinical phenotype.