Hemodynamic monitoring

Minerva Anestesiol. 2002 Apr;68(4):219-25.


The goal of hemodynamic monitoring is to maintain adequate tissue perfusion. Classical hemodynamic monitoring is based on the invasive measurement of systemic, pulmonary arterial and venous pressures, and of cardiac output. Since organ blood flow cannot be directly measured in clinical practice, arterial blood pressure is used, despite limitations, as estimate of adequacy of tissue perfusion. A mean arterial pressure (MAP) of 70 mm Hg may be considered a reasonable target, associated with sign of adequate organ perfusion, in most patients. In the approach to hypotension, which is the most common cause of hemodynamic instability in critical ill patients, increasing levels of monitoring may be used. Assuming that central venous pressure (CVP) and pulmonary artery occlusion pressure (PAOP) are adequate estimates of the volume of the systemic and pulmonary circulation respectively, the following decision tree is suggested: 1) make a working diagnosis based on the relationship between pressure (CVP and PAOP) and cardiac output or stroke volume (CO or SV); 2) consider conditions that may alter reliability of CVP and PAOP in estimate adequately circulating volumes such as abnormal pressure/volume relationship (compliance) of the RV or LV, increased intrathoracic pressure (PEEP, autoPEEP, intra-abdominal pressure), valvular heart disease (mitral stenosis); 3) look at the history; 4) separating RV and LV by reciprocal variations of CVP, PAOP and SV. CVP is often used as sole parameter to monitor hemodynamic. However CVP alone may not differentiate between changes in volume (different venous return curve) or changes in contractility (different starling curve). Finally, other techniques such as echocardiography, transesophageal Doppler and volume-based monitoring system are now available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Catheterization, Swan-Ganz
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Echocardiography
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / diagnosis
  • Hypotension / physiopathology
  • Monitoring, Physiologic*