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Current Use of the Pulmonary Artery Catheter in Cardiac Surgery: A Survey Study



Because of its invasive nature, debated effect on patient outcome, and the development of alternative hemodynamic monitoring technologies, the intraoperative use of the pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) has significantly decreased. The authors conducted a survey of the members of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (SCA) to assess current use of the PAC and alternative hemodynamic monitoring technologies in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.


A survey study.


Hospitals in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.


SCA members in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.


The survey was e-mailed by the SCA to roughly 6,000 of its members.

Measurements and main results

The survey was left open for 30 days. Respondents accessed the survey via a secured web-based database. A total of 854 questionnaires were completed. A total of 705 (82.6%) were from North American members. Four hundred twelve of the respondents (48.1%) worked in a private practice setting, while 350 (40.9%) were from an academic practice. A majority of the respondents (57.9%) were from hospitals that performed more than 400 cardiac surgeries a year, a subset of which (29.6%) did more than 800 cases annually. For cases using cardiopulmonary bypass, 583 (68.2%) of the respondents used a PAC more than 75% of the time, while 30 (3.5%) did not use the PAC at all. Ninety-four percent of respondents used transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) as part of the intraoperative monitoring. When not using a PAC, FloTrac/Vigileo was the alternative cardiac monitoring modality in 15.2% of the responses. Similar trends in monitor preferences were seen in off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting and minimally invasive/robotic heart surgery.


The results of this study suggested that a majority of the respondents still prefer to use the PAC for most cardiac surgeries. Subgroup analysis of the data revealed that geographical location, type of practice, and surgeon support played a significant role in the decision to use a PAC. Although most respondents prefer to use TEE as a complimentary tool, TEE also remains the most popular supplemental/alternative hemodynamic monitoring technology.

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