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Ann Surg. 1997 Sep;226(3):229-36; discussion 236-7.

Routine pulmonary artery catheterization does not reduce morbidity and mortality of elective vascular surgery: results of a prospective, randomized trial.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.



The authors determined whether the preoperative placement of a pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) with optimization of hemodynamics results in outcome improvement after elective vascular surgery.


The PAC commonly is used not only in patients who are critically ill, but also perioperatively in major elective surgery. Few prospective studies exist documenting its usefulness.


One hundred four consecutive patients were randomized to have a PAC placed the morning of operation (group I) or to have a PAC placed only if clinically indicated (group II). Group I patients were resuscitated to preestablished endpoints before surgery and kept at these points both intraoperatively and postoperatively. Group II patients received standard care.


There was one death in each group. An intraoperative or postoperative complication developed in 13 patients in group I versus 7 patients in group II (p = not significant). Group I patients received more fluid than did group II patients (5137 +/- 315 mL vs. 3789 +/- 306 mL; p < 0.003). There was no significant difference in either overall or surgical intensive care unit length of stay. Only one patient in group II required a postoperative PAC.


Routine PAC use in elective vascular surgery increases the volume of fluid given to patients without demonstrable improvement in morbidity or mortality.

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