A comparison of noninvasive bioreactance with oesophageal Doppler estimation of stroke volume during open abdominal surgery: an observational study

Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2013 Aug;30(8):501-8. doi: 10.1097/EJA.0b013e3283603250.


Context: The anaesthetist must maintain tissue perfusion by ensuring optimal perioperative fluid balance. This can be achieved using less invasive cardiac output monitors such as oesophageal Doppler monitoring (ODM). Other less invasive cardiac output monitors using bio-impedence technology (noninvasive cardiac output monitoring, NICOM) may have a role in monitoring the circulation and informing fluid management decisions.

Objective: To compare estimates of stroke volume from ODM with those from NICOM, a noninvasive monitor using bioreactance, a modification of transthoracic bio-impedence.

Design: An observational study.

Setting: Manchester Royal Infirmary, UK. Data collected in 2011 and 2012.

Participants: Twenty-two patients scheduled for major, open abdominal surgery. Reasons for noninclusion: atrial fibrillation; heart failure; oesophageal disease; lack of capacity; and known sensitivity to colloid.

Intervention: All patients had oesophageal Doppler cardiac output monitoring as a standard element of anaesthesia care. We placed NICOM Bioreactance electrodes and recorded stroke volume estimates from both devices. Fluid challenges were given by the anaesthetist and the haemodynamic responses were recorded.

Main outcome measure: Stroke volume during surgery. The Bland-Altman method was used to compare bias and limits of agreement for stroke volume and cardiac output. Fluid responders were defined as patients who increased stroke volume by at least 10% after fluid loading. The precision of each device was calculated during periods of haemodynamic stability.

Results: We made 788 acceptable measurements of cardiac output. The bias was -6.9 ml and the limits of agreement were -22.9 to 36.8 ml. The percentage error was 57%. Average precision for both the ODM and NICOM were similar, 8.5% (SD 5.4%) and 8.7% (SD 3.2%). The concordance for the stroke volume change following fluid challenge was 90.5%. Both devices produced unacceptable readings with electrical diathermy.

Conclusion: Simultaneous stroke volume estimations made by noninvasive Bioreactance (NICOM) and oesophageal Doppler showed bias and limits of agreement that are not clinically acceptable. The measurements made by these two devices cannot be regarded as interchangeable.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / surgery*
  • Aged
  • Androstanols / therapeutic use
  • Anesthesia / methods
  • Anesthesiology / methods
  • Artifacts
  • Cardiac Output
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Fentanyl / therapeutic use
  • General Surgery / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods*
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use
  • Propofol / therapeutic use
  • Remifentanil
  • Rocuronium
  • Stroke Volume / physiology*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods*


  • Androstanols
  • Piperidines
  • Remifentanil
  • Fentanyl
  • Rocuronium
  • Propofol