A comparison of thermodilution and pulsed Doppler cardiac output measurement in critically ill children
Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
To evaluate the pulsed Doppler cardiac output method as a noninvasive means for determining cardiac output in critically ill children, we performed paired pulsed Doppler and thermodilution cardiac output determinations in 17 critically ill children. Commercially available equipment, specifically designed for this purpose, was employed. Forty paired thermodilution and pulsed Doppler determinations were made. There was a significant correlation between the two measurements (pulsed Doppler = 0.84 thermodilution + 0.39; r = 0.79, p less than 0.01). The ranges of thermodilution measurements (1.02 to 6.26 L/min; median 2.77 L/min) and pulsed Doppler measurements (1.13 to 6.35 L/min; median 2.57 L/min) were not different (p = 0.25). However, differences between individual paired thermodilution and pulsed Doppler measurements were large (-3.13 to 2.03 L/min; median 0.12 L/min), and the percentage difference between individual paired thermodilution and pulsed Doppler measurements ranged from 0.41% to 102.5% (median 12.7%). A discrepancy of 15% or more between thermodilution and pulsed Doppler was encountered in 18 (45%) of 40 of paired measurements (95% confidence interval: 29% to 61%), and one fourth of the paired measurements differed by more than 25%. We conclude that, as employed in this study, pulsed Doppler cardiac output determination is not sufficiently representative of the thermodilution output to be employed for hemodynamic monitoring in critically ill children.