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Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Sep;90(3):326-30.

Two-dimensional echocardiography and Doppler ultrasound in managing obstetric patients.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.



To test the usefulness of ultrasound-derived measurements of intracardiac filling pressures and cardiac performance in the noninvasive management of obstetric patients with an indication for hemodynamic monitoring.


We included patients with oliguria unresponsive to crystalloid boluses, with hypertension unresponsive to hydralazine, and at high risk for pulmonary edema who were determined to be candidates for invasive monitoring. They were first studied with two-dimensional echocardiography and Doppler ultrasound using a technique previously validated at our institution. Cardiac dimensions, filling pressures, and function were assessed at the bedside. Subsequently, management decisions were made based on these findings.


Fourteen patients were studied. Two received a pulmonary artery catheter after noninvasive evaluation indicated a need for continuous monitoring. The 12 patients managed without the need for a pulmonary artery catheter included women with intractable hypertension (one patient), pulmonary edema (two patients), complex cardiac lesions (two patients), oliguria (five patients), intractable hypertension and oliguria (one patient), and unexplained dyspnea with peripheral arterial oxygen desaturation (one patient). Although some patients received as much as 8 L of crystalloid, none developed pulmonary edema or left ventricular failure. In all 12 cases, the ultrasound monitoring allowed successful noninvasive management of the patient.


This pilot study suggests that two-dimensional echocardiography and Doppler examination may be an effective alternative to invasive monitoring in the management of selected pregnant patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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