Carotid Doppler Measurement Variability in Functional Hemodynamic Monitoring: An Analysis of 17,822 Cardiac Cycles

Crit Care Explor. 2021 Jun 11;3(6):e0439. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000439. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Carotid Doppler ultrasound is used as a measure of fluid responsiveness, however, assessing change with statistical confidence requires an adequate beat sample size. The coefficient of variation helps quantify the number of cardiac cycles needed to adequately detect change during functional hemodynamic monitoring.

Design: Prospective, observational, human model of hemorrhage and resuscitation.

Setting: Human physiology laboratory at Mayo Clinic.

Subjects: Healthy volunteers.

Interventions: Lower body negative pressure.

Measurements and main results: We measured the coefficient of variation of the carotid artery velocity time integral and corrected flow time during significant cardiac preload changes. Seventeen-thousand eight-hundred twenty-two cardiac cycles were analyzed. The median coefficient of variation of the carotid velocity time integral was 8.7% at baseline and 11.9% during lowest-tolerated lower body negative pressure stage. These values were 3.6% and 4.6%, respectively, for the corrected flow time.

Conclusions: The median coefficient of variation values measured in this large dataset indicates that at least 6 cardiac cycles should be averaged before and after an intervention when using the carotid artery as a functional hemodynamic measure.

Keywords: carotid Doppler; corrected flow time; fluid responsiveness; measurement variability; velocity time integral.