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Crit Care Med. 2000 Aug;28(8):2812-8.

Noninvasive whole-body electrical bioimpedance cardiac output and invasive thermodilution cardiac output in high-risk surgical patients.

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Department of Surgery, Community Hospital Dortmund, Germany.



To evaluate the reliability of whole-body impedance cardiography with two electrodes on either both wrists or one wrist and one ankle for the measurement of cardiac output compared with the thermodilution method.


Prospective, clinical investigation


Surgical intensive care unit of a university-affiliated community hospital.


Simultaneous cardiac output measurements by noninvasive whole-body impedance cardiography (nCO) and invasive thermodilution (thCO) in 22 high-risk surgical patients scheduled for extended surgery requiring perioperative pulmonary artery catheter monitoring.




A total of 109 sets of measurements consisting of 455 single comparison measurements between nCO and thCO were included in the analysis. The mean cardiac output difference between the two methods was 1.62 L/min with limits of agreement (2 SD) of +/- 4.64 L/min. The inter-measurement variance was slightly higher for nCO. The correlation coefficient between nCO and thCO was r2 = 0.061 (p < .001) for single measurements and r2 = 0.083 (p < .002) for sets of three to six measurements. The two most predictive factors for between-method differences were the absolute thCO value (r2 = 0.13; p < .001) and whether or not a continuous nitroglycerin infusion was used (p < .05, Student's t-test).


Agreement between whole-body impedance cardiography and thermodilution in the measurement of cardiac output was unsatisfactory. Factors that can explain these differences are differences between the populations used for calibration of nCO and the study population, the influence of changing peripheral perfusion, and the effect of a supranormal hemodynamic state on the bioimpedance signal. Whole-body impedance cardiography cannot be recommended for assessing the hemodynamic state of high-risk surgical patients as studied in this investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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