Role of perioperative hypotension in postoperative acute kidney injury: a narrative review

Yugeesh R. Lankadeva, Clive N. May, Rinaldo Bellomo, Roger G. Evans

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Perioperative hypotension is common and associated with poor outcomes, including acute kidney injury (AKI). The mechanistic link between perioperative hypotension and AKI is at least partly a consequence of the susceptibility of the kidney, and particularly the renal medulla, to ischaemia and hypoxia. Several critical gaps in our knowledge lead to uncertainty about when and how to intervene to prevent AKI attributable to perioperative hypotension. First, although we know that the risk of AKI varies with both the severity and duration of hypotensive episodes, ‘safe’ levels of arterial pressure have not been identified. Second, there have been few adequately powered clinical trials of interventions to avoid perioperative hypotension. Thus, most evidence surrounding perioperative hypotension is observational rather than based on randomised clinical trials. This means that the link between perioperative hypotension and AKI may represent association (where both phenomena reflect illness severity) rather than causation. Third, there is little information regarding the relative risks and benefits of various clinically available therapies (e.g. vasoconstrictors, i.v. fluids, or both) to treat and prevent perioperative hypotension, particularly with regard to renal medullary perfusion and oxygenation. Fourth, there are currently no validated, clinically feasible methods for real-time clinical monitoring of renal perfusion or oxygenation. Thus, future developments in perioperative kidney-protective strategies must rely on the development of methods to better monitor renal perfusion and oxygenation in the perioperative period, and thereby guide timing, intensity, type, and duration of interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-948
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • acute kidney injury
  • autoregulation
  • renal circulation
  • renal hypoxia
  • renal medulla
  • vasopressor

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