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Pediatr Cardiol. 2010 Nov;31(8):1214-8. doi: 10.1007/s00246-010-9806-6. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Noninvasive cardiac output determination for children by the inert gas-rebreathing method.

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Department of Pediatric Cardiology, University Children's Hospital, Hoppe-Seyler-Strasse 1, 72076, Tuebingen, Germany.


Standard methods for determination of cardiac output (CO) are either invasive or technically demanding. Measurement of CO by the inert gas-rebreathing (IGR) method, applied successfully in adults, uses a low-concentration mixture of an inert and a blood-soluble gas, respectively. This study tested the feasibility of this method for determining CO during exercise for pediatric patients with complete congenital atrioventricular block (CCAVB) stimulated with a VVI pacemaker. In this study, 5 CCAVB patients (age 9.2-17.4 years) were compared with 10 healthy age-matched boys and girls. Testing was performed with the Innocor system. The patients were instructed to breathe the test gas from a closed system. Pulmonary blood flow was calculated according to the washout of the soluble gas component. During standardized treadmill testing, CO was determined at three defined levels. The CO measurements were successful for all the study participants. The patients reached a lower peak CO than the control subjects (5.9 l/min/m(2) vs 7.3 [boys] and 7.2 [girls]). The stroke volume increase under exercise also was reduced in the patients compared with the control subjects. The feasibility of the IGR method for exercise CO testing in children was documented. Application of the IGR method for children requires careful instruction of the patients and appears restricted to subjects older than 8 years. The method offers new insights into mechanisms of cardiovascular adaptation in children with congenital heart disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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