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J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2008 Mar-Apr;23(2):113-21; quiz 122-3. doi: 10.1097/01.JCN.0000305073.49613.db.

Pulmonary artery catheters: state of the controversy.

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  • 1University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0232, USA.


Since 1970, pulmonary artery catheters (PACs) have been used in clinical practice to monitor the hemodynamic status of critically ill and injured patients. This technology was introduced and commercialized without considerable testing to determine safety and efficacy. After years of common clinical use, investigators identified potential increases in mortality associated with PAC use. For the past decade, investigators have studied various patient populations to elucidate the safety and efficacy of the PAC. This article reviews the historical context of PAC use, findings from recent clinical trials intended to determine safety and efficacy, issues with reliability and validity of PAC use, and complications associated with PAC use. Data from recent clinical trials do not support routine use of PACs, and the authors suggest that PAC-guided therapy should be the focus of study in future trials.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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