Pathophysiology and management of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-associated refractory hypotension during the perioperative period.
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Hypertension is a common chronic condition in many patients requiring anesthesia. Pharmacologic therapy is a mainstay of treatment for hypertension, with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors being a frequently prescribed class of drugs. The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association 2007 Guidelines on Perioperative Cardiovascular Evaluation and Care for Noncardiac Surgery provide information on many drug classes used in the treatment of hypertension; noticeably absent is a guideline for ACE inhibitors. Literature demonstrates that practice standards vary on whether ACE inhibitor regimens are continued or withheld during the preoperative period. When ACE inhibitor therapy is continued in patients undergoing general anesthesia, varying degrees of hypotension can be seen depending on confounding patient variables and the type of surgical procedure. In some instances, this hypotension can be refractory to traditional interventions such as administration of a fluid bolus, ephedrine, or phenylephrine. Vasopressin and methylene blue have been found to be effective treatments for ACE inhibitor-associated refractory hypotension. With the prevalence of hypertension and use of ACE inhibitors, anesthesia providers are likely to encounter refractory hypotension of this nature. The absence of guidelines regarding ACE inhibitors in the perioperative period contributes to a lack of consistency in practice.
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