UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: Hypotension and MV

Posted: 6/15/2010 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 4/1/2023)
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Hypotension after intubation and initiation of mechanical ventilation

  • Approximately 25-30% of patients develop hypotension after intubation and initiation of mechanical ventilation (MV).
  • Although the literature is not robust, risk factors for hypotension after initiation of MV include:
    • hypotension prior to intubation
    • tachycardia prior to intubation
    • obesity
    • high intrathoracic pressure (COPD)
    • excess catecholamine states (ETOH withdrawal, cocaine intoxication) with rapid relaxation during RSI
  • In addition to administering isotonic intravenous fluids (IVFs) while preparing for intubation, consider having a vasopressor medication, such as phenylephrine, available if IVFs alone prove insufficient at maintaining blood pressure.


Manthous CA. Avoiding circulatory complications during endotracheal intubation and initiation of positive pressure ventilation. JEM 2010; 38:622-31.