How to measure blood pressure using an arterial catheter: a systematic 5-step approach

Bernd Saugel, Karim Kouz, Agnes S Meidert, Leonie Schulte-Uentrop, Stefano Romagnoli
Critical Care: the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum 2020 April 24, 24 (1): 172
Arterial blood pressure (BP) is a fundamental cardiovascular variable, is routinely measured in perioperative and intensive care medicine, and has a significant impact on patient management. The clinical reference method for BP monitoring in high-risk surgical patients and critically ill patients is continuous invasive BP measurement using an arterial catheter. A key prerequisite for correct invasive BP monitoring using an arterial catheter is an in-depth understanding of the measurement principle, of BP waveform quality criteria, and of common pitfalls that can falsify BP readings. Here, we describe how to place an arterial catheter, correctly measure BP, and identify and solve common pitfalls. We focus on 5 important steps, namely (1) how to choose the catheter insertion site, (2) how to choose the type of arterial catheter, (3) how to place the arterial catheter, (4) how to level and zero the transducer, and (5) how to check the quality of the BP waveform.

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