Hemodynamic monitoring: To calibrate or not to calibrate? Part 1 - Calibrated techniques

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Yannick Peeters, Jelle Bernards, Michael Mekeirele, Britta Hoffmann, Marijke De Raes, Manu L.N.G. Malbrain


Over recent decades, hemodynamic monitoring has evolved from basic cardiac output monitoring techniques to a broad variety of sophisticated monitoring devices with extra parameters. In order to reduce morbidity and mortality and optimize therapeutic strategies, different monitoring techniques can be used to guide fluid resuscitation and other medical management. Generally, they can be divided in calibrated and non-calibrated techniques. In the first part of this review, the available calibrated techniques, ranging from invasive to non-invasive, will be discussed. We performed a review of the literature in order to give an overview of the current hemodynamic monitoring devices. For each monitoring system, a short overview of the physical principles, the advantages and disadvantages and the available literature with regard to validation is given. Currently, many promising hemodynamic monitoring devices are readily available in order to optimize therapeutic management in both perioperative and ICU settings. Although several of these calibrated techniques have been validated in the literature, not all techniques have been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality. Many new techniques, especially some non-calibrated devices, lack good validation data in different clinical settings (sepsis, trauma, burns, etc.). The cardiac output values obtained with these techniques need therefore to be interpreted with caution as will be discussed in the second part of this concise review. Transthoracic echocardiography forms a good initial choice to assess hemodynamics in critically ill patients after initial stabilisation. However in complex situations or in patients not responding to fluid resuscitation alone, advanced hemodynamic monitoring is recommended with the use of calibrated techniques like transpulmonary thermodilution. Calibrated techniques are preferred in patients with severe shock and changing conditions of preload, afterload and contractility. The use of the pulmonary artery catheter should be reserved for patients with right ventricular failure in order to assess the effect of medical treatment.

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