Monitoring Left Heart Performance in the Critically Ill

  • J. Poelaert
  • C. Roosens
  • P. Segers


Pre-existing ventricular dysfunction in the critically ill patient significantly determines outcome. The importance of this feature has been demonstrated both in septic and in perioperative non-cardiac surgical patients [1, 2]. When admitted to the ICU, patients with extensive hemodynamic deterioration, either due to distributive shock, cardiogenic shock or posttraumatic hypovolemia, should be examined rapidly to correctly assess the main determinants of cardiovascular function. Table 1 summarizes intrinsic and extrinsic determinants governing ventricular function. Rapid decision making will have a major impact on further therapeutic strategies [3, 4]. In this respect, it is of paramount importance to estimate accurately both changing loading conditions and cardiac function. Traditional measures, such as stroke volume, cardiac output, and ejection fraction have proven their validity in clinical practice, although caution is warranted because of their strong load dependency. The load dependency precludes the use of ejection fraction as a parameter in patients with either disturbed preload or afterload. Left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction does not show any prognostic value with respect to outcome prediction in patients with normal systolic LV function in septic shock [5]. With the advent of more powerful and more specific technology, a different framework for evaluating LV performance must be proposed.


Right Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction Tissue Doppler Imaging Myocardial Performance Index Contractile Reserve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Poelaert
  • C. Roosens
  • P. Segers

There are no affiliations available

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