Blood Pressure and Survival in Sick Cats

Silverstein, D. C., F. A. Wininger, et al. (2008). “Relationship between Doppler blood pressure and survival or response to treatment in critically ill cats: 83 cases (2003-2004).” J Am Vet Med Assoc 232(6): 893-7.

Critically ill cats pose special challenges in veterinary medicine. Standard means of monitoring cardiovascular status include temperature, respiratory rate, pulse rate (TPR) and blood pressure (BP). Both Doppler and oscillometric methods are routinely used to monitor BP in cats. Hypotension in cats is defined as a BP of under 80-90 mm Hg. Intermittent or prolonged hypotension can lead to serious consequences, such as impaired perfusion and decreased oxygen delivery, causing organ damage or failure. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between Doppler BP and survival or response to treatment in critically ill cats. The study is a retrospective case series involving the records of 83 cats. In addition to BP, other factors evaluated included survival to discharge, heart rate, rectal temperature, packed cell volume (PCV), plasma pH, serum ionized calcium, disease process, body weight, age, duration of hospitalization, and catecholamine treatment. Of the 83 cats, 39 were considered hypotensive and 44 were normotensive. Overall survival rate was 53%, with a significantly higher mortality rate amongst hypotensive patients. Of the other variables, only low rectal temperature and low PCV were significantly associated with hypotension. Monitoring for and correcting hypotension should be addressed in hospitalized, critically ill cats.
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Related articles:
Lin, C. H., C. J. Yan, et al. (2006). “Systolic blood pressure of clinically normal and conscious cats determined by an indirect Doppler method in a clinical setting.” J Vet Med Sci 68(8): 827-32.