Use of rapid "rescue" perioperative echocardiography to improve outcomes after hemodynamic instability in noncardiac surgical patients

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2012 Jun;26(3):362-70. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2011.09.029. Epub 2012 Jan 4.


Objective: To investigate if modified "rescue" echocardiography enhanced management during perioperative hemodynamic instability in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery.

Design: A retrospective analysis of the medical data.

Setting: Perioperative setting at a single academic medical center.

Participants: Thirty-one adult patients undergoing noncardiac surgery who experienced perioperative hemodynamic instability and were evaluated by either transthoracic echocardiography (TTE, n = 9) or transesophageal echocardiography (TEE, n = 22).

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Rapid "rescue" echocardiography was performed on each patient looking for a specific cause for the patient's perioperative compromise. Echocardiography results, medical management, surgical management, and patient outcomes were all reviewed from the medical record and the department database. All patients were found to have an explainable diagnosis for the hemodynamic instability on the echocardiographic examination. The most common diagnoses were left-heart dysfunction (n = 16), right-heart dysfunction (n = 9), hypovolemia (n = 5), pulmonary embolus (n = 5), and myocardial ischemia (n = 4). Based on findings at echocardiography, 4 patients (13%) underwent and survived an emergent secondary procedure. All 31 patients recovered during their surgical procedure, and 25 (81%) progressed to hospital discharge.

Conclusions: Both TTE and TEE can play a critical role in the diagnosis and management of perioperative hemodynamic instability.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal / methods
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intraoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods
  • Preoperative Period
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome