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Cardiology. 2010;115(3):212-6. doi: 10.1159/000288712. Epub 2010 Feb 27.

Non-invasive measurement of cardiac output during atrial fibrillation: comparison between cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and inert gas rebreathing.

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First Department of Medicine (Cardiology, Angiology, Pneumology and Intensive Care), Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the most frequent heart rhythm disorders. It potentially influences cardiac function and its measurement. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) has become the new gold standard for non-invasive assessment of cardiac output (CO). A novel inert gas rebreathing (IGR) device based on the Fick Principle also proved promising in patients in sinus rhythm (SR). The aim of our study was to compare the agreement of non-invasive CO measurements between CMR and IGR in AF patients.


A total of 68 patients, 34 with AF and 34 pair-matched controls in SR, were included.


Bland-Altman analysis showed good agreement between both methods, with an average deviation of 0.2 +/-1.2 l/min in the AF group versus 0.3 +/-1.0 l/min in the SR group (p = 0.77). IGR demonstrated good agreement for CO between 2.0 and 5.4 l/min. However, in hyperdynamic circulatory conditions (CO >5.5 l/min), the increasing disagreement of IGR and CMR measurements reached statistical significance.


Non-invasive CO measurements using CMR and IGR are feasible in patients suffering from AF. Good agreement was found between the two methods in an unselected cohort. Hyperdynamic circulatory conditions can lead to significant measurement differences which, however, do not affect the reproducibility of IGR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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