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Measurement of cardiac output by automated single-breath technique, and comparison with thermodilution and Fick methods in patients with cardiac disease


Accurate noninvasive methods are needed for determination of cardiac output. Current methods are generally complex or may be unreliable. A previously described method, based on absorption of acetylene gas during a constant exhalation that enables calculation of cardiac output by estimating pulmonary capillary circulation, is incorporated in a new, automated commercial product (SensorMedics 2200). In this study, cardiac output by single-breath acetylene blood flow measured with this device was compared with the standard thermodilution and direct Fick methods in 20 patients undergoing cardiac or pulmonary artery catheterization. Patients inhaled test gas mixture to total lung capacity and exhaled at a constant rate through an adjustable resistor. Lung volumes and noninvasive acetylene blood flow value were calculated automatically. Correlation between the automated single-breath technique and both thermodilution and Fick cardiac output determinations was very high (correlation coefficients were 0.90 and 0.92, respectively), regression slopes were close to identity (0.98 and 0.90), and bias (-0.39 and -0.79 liter/min) and precision (0.94 and 1.02) were good; when shunt correction was applied, bias was reduced to 0.06 and 0.35 liter/min, respectively. Rapid, accurate, noninvasive measurement of cardiac output was easily obtained using the automated device. This technique may have a wide applicability for noninvasive evaluation of patients with cardiac disease and for monitoring effects of therapeutic interventions.

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