Noninvasive cardiac output by partial co2 Rebreathing after Severe Chest Trauma

Robert A. Maxwell, Jeffrey B. Gibson, Joel B. Slade, Timothy C. Fabian, Kenneth G. Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: In multiple trauma patients, early continuous cardiac output (CCO) monitoring is frequently desired but is difficult to routinely employ in most emergency departments because it requires invasive procedures. Recently, a noninvasive cardiac output (NICO) technique based on the Fick principle and partial CO2 rebreathing has shown promise under a variety of conditions. Since this method has not been tested after lung damage, we evaluated its utility in a clinically relevant model. Methods: Anesthetized, ventilated swine (n = 11, 35-45 kg) received a unilateral blunt trauma via a captive bolt gun followed by a 25% hemorrhage. After 60 min of shock, crystalloid resuscitation was given as needed to maintain heart rate < 100 beats/min and mean arterial pressure > 70 mm Hg. Standard CCO by thermodilution (Baxter Vigilance, Irvine, CA) was compared with NICO (Novametrix Medical Systems Inc., Wallingford, CT) for 8 hr. Results: The severity of the injury is reflected by seven deaths (average survival time = 4.25 hr). Trauma increased dead space ventilation (19%), airway resistance (30%), and lactate (3.2 mmol/L), and decreased dynamic compliance (48%) and PaO2/F1O2 (54%). In these extreme conditions, the time course and magnitude of change of CCO and NICO were superimposed. Bland-Altman analysis reveal a bias and precision of 0.01 ± 0.69 liters/min. The linear relationship between individual CCO and NICO values was significant (p < 0.0001) and was described by the equation NICO = (0.74 ± 0.1)CCO + (0.65 ± 0.16 liters/min) but the correlation coefficient (r2 = 0.541) was relatively low. The cause for the low correlation could not be attributed to increased pulmonary shunt, venous desaturation, anemia, hypercapnia, increased dead space ventilation, or hyperlactacidemia. Conclusion: NICO correlated with thermodilution CCO, but underestimated this standard by 26% in extreme laboratory conditions of trauma-induced cardiopulmonary dysfunction; 95% of the NICO values fall within 1.38 liters/min of CCO; and with further improvements, NICO may be useful in multiple trauma patients requiring emergency intubation during initial assessment and workup.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-853
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2001


  • Fick principle
  • Noninvasive cardiac output monitoring
  • Pulmonary contusion
  • Swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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