Neurocritical Care

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 265–272 | Cite as

Correlation of Noninvasive Blood Pressure and Invasive Intra-arterial Blood Pressure in Patients Treated with Vasoactive Medications in a Neurocritical Care Unit

  • Ali A. Saherwala
  • Sonja E. Stutzman
  • Mohamed Osman
  • Junaid Kalia
  • Stephen A. Figueroa
  • DaiWai M. Olson
  • Venkatesh Aiyagari
Original Article



The correlation between noninvasive (oscillometric) blood pressure (NBP) and intra-arterial blood pressure (IAP) in critically ill patients receiving vasoactive medications in a Neurocritical Care Unit has not been systematically studied. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between simultaneously measured NBP and IAP recordings in these patients.


Prospective observational study of patients (N = 70) admitted to a neurocritical care unit receiving continuous vasopressor or antihypertensive infusions. Paired NBP/IAP observations along with covariate and demographic data were abstracted via chart audit. Analysis was performed using SAS v9.4.


A total of 2177 paired NBP/IAP observations from 70 subjects (49% male, 63% white, mean age 59 years) receiving vasopressors (n = 21) or antihypertensive agents (n = 49) were collected. Paired t test analysis showed significant differences between NBP versus IAP readings: ([systolic blood pressure (SBP): mean = 136 vs. 140 mmHg; p < 0.0001], [diastolic blood pressure (DBP): mean = 70 vs. 68 mmHg, p < 0.0001], [mean arterial blood pressure (MAP): mean = 86 vs. 90 mmHg, p < 0.0001]). Bland–Altman plots for MAP, SBP, and DBP demonstrate good inter-method agreement between paired measures (excluding outliers) and demonstrate NBP–IAP SBP differences at extremes of blood pressures. Pearson correlation coefficients show strong positive correlations for paired MAP (r = 0.82), SBP (r = 0.84), and DBP (r = 0.73) recordings. An absolute NBP–IAP SBP difference of > 20 mmHg was seen in ~ 20% of observations of nicardipine, ~ 25% of observations of norepinephrine, and ~ 35% of observations of phenylephrine. For MAP, the corresponding numbers were ~ 10, 15, and 25% for nicardipine, norepinephrine, and phenylephrine, respectively.


Despite overall strong positive correlations between paired NBP and IAP readings of MAP and SBP, clinically relevant differences in blood pressure are frequent. When treating with vasoactive infusions targeted to a specific BP goal, it is important to keep in mind that NBP and IAP values are not interchangeable.


Hemodynamics Pharmacology Monitoring Blood pressure Invasive arterial blood pressure monitoring Neurocritical care 



We would like to thank all staff of the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit at Zale Lipshy University Hospital (UT Southwestern Medical Center), Dallas, Texas, USA, for their support, and furthermore, we would like to thank the Neuroscience Nursing Research Center and the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern for their help with this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and Neurocritical Care Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali A. Saherwala
    • 1
  • Sonja E. Stutzman
    • 1
  • Mohamed Osman
    • 1
  • Junaid Kalia
    • 2
  • Stephen A. Figueroa
    • 1
  • DaiWai M. Olson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Venkatesh Aiyagari
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Neurocritical Care, Department of Neurology and NeurotherapeuticsUT Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  2. 2.Department of Critical CareAurora St. Luke’s HospitalMilwaukeeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Neurological SurgeryUT Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA

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