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Hypotension During Anesthesia

*The following chart and information is designed as a quick reference guide and can not replace the breadth of knowledge needed to provide appropriate anesthetic care.


Hypotension, "low blood pressure", is a common issue faced by doctors and technicians providing anesthesia to their patients. Typically defined as a mean arterial blood pressure less than 60mm Hg or a systolic arterial blood pressure less than 90mm Hg, the presence of hypotension can be a chronic condition or come on suddenly as a result of anesthesia. For this reason it is important to measure your patient's arterial blood pressure prior to any anesthesia and at regular intervals during the procedure.


During anesthesia there are three main categories of the causes that can affect your patients blood pressure; 1. decreased cardiac output (a reduction in the volume of oxygenated blood leaving the heart), 2. decreased venous return (a reduction in the amount of blood returning to the heart from the peripheral vessels), and 3. arterial vasodilation (expansion of the arteries). There are many things that can affect these areas of the circulatory system resulting in hypotension making it very important to understand the causes in order to identify and address the issue.


The following are some tips to understand and treat the various causes of hypotension in animals under anesthesia.


At the VSCAN we are privileged to provide anesthetic care to our patients under the guidance of Dr. Stefania Grasso, a board certified veterinary anesthesiologist. For more information about this and other educational and training services please contact us.


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