The application of the thermodilution method in conditions associated with variations in blood flow implies a misuse of the Stewart Hamilton equation. Therefore, we studied the reliability of the thermodilution method for the estimation of mean cardiac output (CO) during mechanical ventilation in patients (n=9). Variation of the injection moment in the ventilatory cycle elicited a cyclic variation of CO estimates. This variation was not the same for all patients neither in phase nor in amplitude. Therefore, no specific phase in the ventilatory cycle could be selected for an accurate estimation of mean CO. Averaging CO estimates randomly distributed in the ventilatory cycle led to an improvement of accuracy with the square root of the number of observations. The averaging of CO estimates spread equally over the ventilatory cycle led to a much better result, e.g., the variation in the average of two estimates equally spread in the ventilatory cycle was similar to the variation in the average of four random estimates. We conclude that averaging of 3 or 4 estimates spread equally over the ventilatory cycle is an adequate strategy to estimate mean cardiac output in patients reliably.
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Jansen, J.R.C., Schreuder, J.J., Settels, J.J. et al. An adequate strategy for the thermodilution technique in patients during mechanical ventilation. Intensive Care Med 16, 422–425 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01711218
- Cardiac output
- Mechanical ventilation
- Multiple injections