Monoplane hemodynamic TEE (hTEE) monitoring (ImaCor(®) ClariTEE(®)) might be a useful alternative to continuously evaluate cardiovascular function and we aimed to investigate the feasibility and influence of hTEE monitoring on postoperative management in cardiac surgery patients. After IRB approval we reviewed the electronic data of cardiac surgery patients admitted to our intensive care between 01/01/2012 and 30/06/2013 in a case-controlled matched-pairs design. Patients were eligible for the study when they presented a sustained hemodynamic instability postoperatively with the clinical need of an extended hemodynamic monitoring: (a) hTEE (hTEE group, n = 18), or (b) transpulmonary thermodilution (control group, n = 18). hTEE was performed by ICU residents after receiving an approximately 6-h hTEE training session. For hTEE guided hemodynamic optimization an institutional algorithm was used. The hTEE probe was blindly inserted at the first attempt in all patients and image quality was at least judged to be adequate. The frequency of hemodynamic examinations was higher (ten complete hTEE examinations every 2.6 h) in contrast to the control group (one examination every 8 h). hTEE findings, including five unexpected right heart failure and one pericardial tamponade, led to a change of current therapy in 89% of patients. The cumulative dose of epinephrine was significantly reduced (p = 0.034) and levosimendan administration was significantly increased (p = 0.047) in the hTEE group. hTEE was non-inferior to the control group in guiding norepinephrine treatment (p = 0.038). hTEE monitoring performed by ICU residents was feasible and beneficially influenced the postoperative management of cardiac surgery patients.
Keywords: Cardiac surgery; Echocardiography; Goal directed therapy; Monoplane probe; Postoperative management; hTEE.