Arterial Tonometry for Noninvasive, Continuous Blood Pressure Monitoring during Anesthesia


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Abstract

Arterial tonometry is a technique used to measure arterial blood pressure noninvasively. The authors developed a new tonometer system containing an array of 15 piezoresistive pressure transducers, a mechanical positioning system, signal conditioning and multiplexing electronics, and a display and control console. The authors evaluated the accuracy, reliability, and clinical acceptability of this system by comparing tonometric blood pressure measurements with intraarterial blood pressure measurements in 60 anesthetized patients. Blood pressure was measured intraarterially in either the right or left radial artery by a Gould P23XL calibrated transducer, whereas blood pressure was measured by tonometer at the radial artery of the other arm. The tonometric waveform was similar to the intraarterial waveform. Simultaneous tonometer and intraarterial systolic blood pressures of the 60 patients (3,036 data sets) had an overall regression coefficient, r = 0.97, and an equation, regression equation = 0.95X + 5.8. Similar values were obtained for mean and diastolic pressures. Regression analyses of the paired tonometric and intraarterial blood pressure values showed good correlations in both sexes and in ages ranging from 8 to 82 yr (r = 0.94–0.97). Mean absolute values of error (precision) for the systolic, mean, and diastolic measurements did not differ significantly among the five systolic, five mean, and four diastolic pressure groups and ranged from 3.6 to 6.6 mmHg, with negligible bias, with intraarterial pressure used as the reference. Bias for the various pressure groups was small: –0.9–3.6 mmHg for systolic; –3.0–0.7 mmHg for mean; and –2.1–4.5 mmHg for diastolic. The “limits of agreement” (mean difference ± two standard deviations) were within an acceptable range for clinical anesthesia. The authors' results indicate that tonometry provides accurate, reliable, and real-time blood pressure measurements, together with continuous display of the pressure waveform. It is potentially a useful method for continuous and non-invasive measurement of radial artery blood pressure during anesthesia.

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