The Regional Cerebral Oxygen Saturation Effect of Inotropes/Vasopressors Administered to Treat Intraoperative Hypotension: A Bayesian Network Meta-analysis

Anna Maria Bombardieri, Narinder P. Singh, Lauren Yaeger, Umeshkumar Athiraman, Ban C.H. Tsui, Preet Mohinder Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


One of the main concerns of intraoperative hypotension is adequacy of cerebral perfusion, as cerebral blood flow decreases passively when mean arterial pressure falls below the lower limit of cerebral autoregulation. Treatment of intraoperative hypotension includes administration of drugs, such as inotropes and vasopressors, which have different pharmacological effects on cerebral hemodynamics; there is no consensus on the preferred drug to use. We performed a network meta-analysis (NMA) to pool and analyze data comparing the effect on cerebral oxygen saturation (ScO2) measured by cerebral oximetry of various inotropes/vasopressors used to treat intraoperative hypotension. We searched randomized control trials in Embase, Ovid Medline, Scopus, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science. We included studies that enrolled adult patients undergoing surgery under general/spinal anesthesia that compared at least 2 inotropes/vasopressors to treat hypotension. We reviewed 51 full-text manuscripts and included 9 randomized controlled trials in our study. The primary outcome was change in ScO2. Our results showed the likelihood that dopamine, ephedrine, and norepinephrine had the lowest probability of decreasing ScO2. The suggested rank order to maintain ScO2, from higher to lower, was dopamine <ephedrine <norepinephrine <phenylephrine. Drugs in the lower rank order, like phenylephrine, produce higher reductions in ScO2. Compared with dopamine, the mean difference (95% credible interval) of ScO2reduction was: ephedrine -3.19 (-15.74, 8.82), norepinephrine -4.44 (-18.23, 9.63) and phenylephrine -6.93 (-18.31, 4.47). The results of our NMA suggest that dopamine and ephedrine are more likely to preserve ScO2, followed by norepinephrine. Compared with the other inotropes/vasopressors, phenylephrine decreased ScO2. Because of the inherent imprecision of direct/indirect comparisons, the rank orders are possibilities, not absolute ranks. Therefore the results of this NMA should be interpreted with caution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • cerebral oximetry
  • cerebral oxygen saturation
  • cerebral perfusion
  • intraoperative hypotension
  • network meta-analysis
  • vasopressors


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