Association of blood pressure variability with short- and long-term cognitive outcomes in patients with critical illness

Nika Zorko Garbajs, Tarun D. Singh, Diana J. Valencia Morales, Vitaly Herasevich, David O. Warner, David P. Martin, David S. Knopman, Ronald C. Petersen, Andrew C. Hanson, Andrew J. Jennissen, Darrell R. Schroeder, Toby N. Weingarten, Ognjen Gajic, Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Juraj Sprung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Blood pressure variability (BPV), a modifiable risk factor, can compromise cerebral perfusion in critically ill patients. We studied the association between BPV in the intensive care unit (ICU) and short- and long-term cognitive outcomes. Methods: All patients were ≥50 years old. The short-term cognitive end points were delirium and depressed alertness without delirium. The long-term outcome was change in the slope of longitudinal cognitive scores. Primary BPV measure was average real variability (ARV) of systolic blood pressure. Associations were assessed with multivariable multinominal logistic regression and linear mixed effects models. Results: Of 794 patients (1130 admissions) 185 developed delirium and 274 developed depressed alertness. There was a dose-response association of 24-h systolic ARV with delirium (adjusted OR, 95% CI 2.15 per 5 mm Hg increase, 1.31–3.06, P < 0.017) and with depressed alertness (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.18–3.03, P < 0.008). For 371 patients with available longitudinal cognitive scores, the decline in cognitive trajectory was accelerated after discharge (annual change OR −0.097, 95% CI −0.122 to −0.073). This acceleration increased with delirium (additional decline −0.132 [−0.233 to 0.030], P = 0.011). We found no significant association between BPV and post-ICU cognitive trajectory. Conclusions: BPV was associated with increased likelihood of delirium in the ICU. Delirium, but not BPV, was associated with long-term cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154107
JournalJournal of Critical Care
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Acute encephalopathy
  • Blood pressure variability
  • Cognitive decline
  • Critical illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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