Hemodynamics in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit: The Nursing Prospective

  • Mary Ellen Kern


In the last twenty years, the delivery of healthcare at the bedside in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit (ICU) has become more complicated not only in terms of technology but also because of increased patient acuity, socioeconomic changes and constraints. The ’80s and ’90s have been marked by an increase in physiologic information and a multitude of options offered to the cardiothoracic surgical patient. This has certainly contributed to the complexity of issues now seen in the surgical suite and subsequently postoperatively in the cardiothoracic ICU. The cardiothoracic nurse is faced with an increased challenge in care which may vary according to the labor experience and educational background. Aside from achieving a level of comfort with the basic technical tasks of postoperative cardiothoracic care, the nurse is also challenged by the pharmacologic management and its integration with the hemodynamic status of the patient. The use of a wide variety of available vasoactive and hemodynamically responsive agents demands constant vigilance, reading and education on the part of those professionals who assume this awesome challenge in care. The integration of cardiopulmonary parameters and drug therapy offers the nurse an opportunity to optimize the patient’s physiology on a moment-to-moment basis.


Cardiac Output Cardiac Index Pulmonary Artery Pressure Systemic Vascular Resistance Vasoactive Substance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Ellen Kern
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Cooper Hospital/University Medical CenterUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyCamdenUSA

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