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This article is the author's final published version in Global Spine Journal, Volume 14, Issue 3 Supp., 2024, Pg. 187S - 211S.

The published version is available at Copyright © The Author(s) 2023.


STUDY DESIGN: Clinical practice guideline development following the GRADE process.

OBJECTIVES: Hemodynamic management is one of the only available treatment options that likely improves neurologic outcomes in patients with acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Augmenting mean arterial pressure (MAP) aims to improve blood perfusion and oxygen delivery to the injured spinal cord in order to minimize secondary ischemic damage to neural tissue. The objective of this guideline was to update the 2013 AANS/CNS recommendations on the hemodynamic management of patients with acute traumatic SCI, acknowledging that much has been published in this area since its publication. Specifically, we sought to make recommendations on 1. The range of mean arterial pressure (MAP) to be maintained by identifying an upper and lower MAP limit; 2. The duration of such MAP augmentation; and 3. The choice of vasopressor. Additionally, we sought to make a recommendation on spinal cord perfusion pressure (SCPP) targets.

METHODS: A multidisciplinary guideline development group (GDG) was formed that included health care professionals from a wide range of clinical specialities, patient advocates, and individuals living with SCI. The GDG reviewed the 2013 AANS/CNS guidelines and voted on whether each recommendation should be endorsed or updated. A systematic review of the literature, following PRISMA standards and registered in PROSPERO, was conducted to inform the guideline development process and address the following key questions: (i) what are the effects of goal-directed interventions to optimize spinal cord perfusion on extent of neurological recovery and rates of adverse events at any time point of follow-up? and (ii) what are the effects of particular monitoring techniques, perfusion ranges, pharmacological agents, and durations of treatment on extent of neurological recovery and rates of adverse events at any time point of follow-up? The GDG combined the information from this systematic review with their clinical expertise in order to develop recommendations on a MAP target range (specifically an upper and lower limit to target), the optimal duration for MAP augmentation, and the use of vasopressors or inotropes. Using methods outlined by the GRADE working group, recommendations were formulated that considered the balance of benefits and harms, financial impact, acceptability, feasibility and patient preferences.

RESULTS: The GDG suggested that MAP should be augmented to at least 75-80 mmHg as the "lower limit," but not actively augmented beyond an "upper limit" of 90-95 mmHg in order to optimize spinal cord perfusion in acute traumatic SCI. The quality of the evidence around the "target MAP" was very low, and thus the strength of this recommendation is weak. For duration of hemodynamic management, the GDG "suggested" that MAP be augmented for a duration of 3-7 days. Again, the quality of the evidence around the duration of MAP support was very low, and thus the strength of this recommendation is also weak. The GDG felt that a recommendation on the choice of vasopressor or the use of SCPP targets was not warranted, given the dearth of available evidence.

CONCLUSION: We provide new recommendations for blood pressure management after acute SCI that acknowledge the limitations of the current evidence on the relationship between MAP and neurologic recovery. It was felt that the low quality of existing evidence and uncertainty around the relationship between MAP and neurologic recovery justified a greater range of MAP to target, and for a broader range of days post-injury than recommended in previous guidelines. While important knowledge gaps still remain regarding hemodynamic management, these recommendations represent current perspectives on the role of MAP augmentation for acute SCI.

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