The use of the oesophageal Doppler in perioperative medicine: new opportunities in research and clinical practice

J Clin Monit Comput. 2017 Oct;31(5):895-902. doi: 10.1007/s10877-016-9926-5. Epub 2016 Aug 27.


The oesophageal Doppler (OD) is a minimally invasive haemodynamic monitor used in the surgical theatre and the ICU. Using the OD, goal-directed therapy (GDT) has been shown to reduce perioperative complications in high-risk surgical patients. However, most GDT protocols currently in use are limited to stroke volume optimisation. In the present manuscript, we examine the conceptual models behind new OD-based measurements. These would provide the clinician with a comprehensive view of haemodynamic pathophysiology; including pre-load, contractility, and afterload. Specifically, volume status could be estimated using mean systemic filling pressure (MSFP), the pressure to which all intravascular pressures equilibrate during asystole. Using the OD, MSFP could be readily estimated by simultaneous measurements of aortic blood flow and arterial pressure with sequential manoeuvres of increasing airway pressure. This would result in subsequent reductions in cardiac output and arterial pressure and would allow for a linear extrapolation of a static MSFP value to a "zero flow" state. In addition, we also demonstrate that EF is proportional to mean blood flow velocity measured in the descending thoracic aorta with the OD. Furthermore, OD-derived indexes of blood flow velocity and acceleration, as well as force and kinetic energy, can be derived and used for continuous assessment of cardiac contractility at the bedside. Using OD-derived parameters, the different components of afterload: inertia, resistance and elastance, could also be individually determined. The integration of these additional haemodynamic parameters could assist the clinician in optimising and individualising haemodynamic performance in unstable patients.

Keywords: Doppler technique; Haemodynamic monitoring; Intensive care; Perioperative.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta / physiology
  • Aorta, Thoracic / diagnostic imaging
  • Arterial Pressure
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cardiac Output / physiology
  • Critical Care
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Kinetics
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Perioperative Period
  • Pressure
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler*
  • Ventricular Function, Left