Cardiac filling pressures are not appropriate to predict hemodynamic response to volume challenge

Crit Care Med. 2007 Jan;35(1):64-8. doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000249851.94101.4F.


Objective: Values of central venous pressure of 8-12 mm Hg and of pulmonary artery occlusion pressure of 12-15 mm Hg have been proposed as volume resuscitation targets in recent international guidelines on management of severe sepsis. By analyzing a large number of volume challenges, our aim was to test the significance of the recommended target values in terms of prediction of volume responsiveness.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: A 24-bed medical intensive care unit.

Patients: All consecutive septic patients monitored with a pulmonary artery catheter who underwent a volume challenge between 2001 and 2004.

Intervention: None.

Measurements and main results: A total of 150 volume challenges in 96 patients were reviewed. In 65 instances, the volume challenge resulted in an increase in cardiac index of > or =15% (responders). The pre-infusion central venous pressure was similar in responders and nonresponders (8 +/- 4 vs. 9 +/- 4 mm Hg). The pre-infusion pulmonary artery occlusion pressure was slightly lower in responders (10 +/- 4 vs. 11 +/- 4 mm Hg, p < .05). However, the significance of pulmonary artery occlusion pressure to predict fluid responsiveness was poor and similar to that of central venous pressure, as indicated by low values of areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (0.58 and 0.63, respectively). A central venous pressure of <8 mm Hg and a pulmonary artery occlusion pressure of <12 mm Hg predicted volume responsiveness with a positive predictive value of only 47% and 54%, respectively. With the knowledge of a low stroke volume index (<30 mL.m), their positive predictive values were still unsatisfactory: 61% and 69%, respectively. When the combination of central venous pressure and pulmonary artery occlusion pressure was considered instead of either pressure alone, the degree of prediction of volume responsiveness was not improved.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that cardiac filling pressures are poor predictors of fluid responsiveness in septic patients. Therefore, their use as targets for volume resuscitation must be discouraged, at least after the early phase of sepsis has concluded.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Central Venous Pressure*
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Critical Care / standards
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / methods
  • Fluid Therapy / standards
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyethyl Starch Derivatives*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / standards
  • Patient Selection
  • Plasma Substitutes*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulmonary Wedge Pressure*
  • ROC Curve
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Resuscitation / methods
  • Resuscitation / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis / diagnosis*
  • Sepsis / physiopathology
  • Sepsis / therapy
  • Stroke Volume
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hydroxyethyl Starch Derivatives
  • Plasma Substitutes