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[Non-invasive determination of cardiac output by continuous wave Doppler in air rescue service]

K Knobloch, V Hubrich, P Rohmann, M Lüpkemann, R Phillips, T Gerich, C Krettek
Anästhesiologie, Intensivmedizin, Notfallmedizin, Schmerztherapie: AINS 2005, 40 (12): 750-5
16362876

BACKGROUND: Determination of cardiac output (CO) enables to assess the hemodynamic situation as well as to administer optimal catecholamine therapy especially in critically compromised patients with hemodynamic instability. Invasive determination of CO is possible via a Swan-Ganz-catheter with its associated risk of implantation in the hospital. Using the Doppler technique, we evaluated the feasibility of the USCOM-system for non-invasive CO determination in preclinical emergency medicine in air rescue service.

METHODS: In 32 patients (17 months to 92-years-old) cardiac output was determined non-invasively (USCOM) at the scene and during the helicopter transport at Christoph 4, based at Hannover Medical School. Simultaneously, blood pressure, ECG and oxygen saturation were determined. Non-invasive CO was assessed by a suprasternal access aiming at the aorta ascendens. 19 patients were unconscious due to cardial and non-cardial reasons, and 13 were conscious (sepsis, status epilepticus, anaphylactic reaction). 7 patients were hemodynamically unstable. In three patients the monitor was used during interhospital transfer by helicopter.

RESULTS: Non-invasively determined CO via the USCOM system was 4.8 +/- 0.7 l/min with a cardiac index of 2.4 +/- 0.3 l/m (2). Highest CO values were determined in a patient with sepsis and during a grand-mal-status in epilepsy (CO 8.2 l/min). All examinations were done by the same emergency physician of the emergency helicopter Christoph 4 immediately after arrival at the scene. The examination took on average 25 seconds. During the helicopter transport, several consecutive CO measurements were performed to assess volume and catecholamine therapy with increase of stroke volume after volume load with colloidal fluids.

CONCLUSIONS: Using the USCOM system it is possible to determine the beat-to-beat cardiac output in air rescue service non-invasively. The emergency physician gains additional crucial hemodynamic information to diagnose and treat adequately by administration of volume load and catecholamines at the scene and during flight conditions. Further preclinical prospective trials are mandatory to elucidate the value of this novel device in emergency medicine.

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