Increasing Use of Less-Invasive Hemodynamic Monitoring in 3 Specialty Surgical Intensive Care Units: A 5-Year Experience at a Tertiary Medical Center

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Introduction:Less-invasive hemodynamic monitoring (eg, esophageal doppler monitoring [EDM] and arterial pressure contour analysis, FloTrac) is increasingly used as an alternative to pulmonary artery catheters (PACs) in critically ill intensive care unit (ICU).Hypothesis:The decrease in use of PACs is not associated with increased mortality.Methods:Five-year retrospective review of 1894 hemodynamically monitored patients admitted to 3 surgical ICUs in a university-affiliate, tertiary care urban hospital. Data included the number of admissions, diagnosis-related group discharge case mix, length of stay, insertion of monitoring devices (PAC, EDM, and FloTrac probes), administered intravenous vasoactive agents (β-predominant agonists— dobutamine, epinephrine, and dopamine; vasopressors—norepinephrine and phenylephrine), and mortality. Data from hospital administrative databases were compiled to create patient characteristic and monitoring variables across a 5-year time period, 2005 to 2009 inclusive. Chi-square for independent proportions, 1-way analysis of variance, and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used; tests for trend were conducted. An α level of .05 was considered significant. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences v14 was used for all statistical testing.Results:There was a significant change in the type of hemodynamic monitors inserted in 2 of the 3 surgical ICUs (in the general surgery and neurointensive care but not in the cardiac ICU) from PACs to less-invasive devices (Flo-Trac or EDM) during the 5-year study period (P < .001). There was no change in mortality rate over the time period (P = .492). There was an overall increase in the proportion of monitored patients who received intravenous vasoactive agents (P < .001) with a progressive shift from β-agonists to vasopressors (P < .002). Multivariate analyses indicated that age, case mix, and use of vasoactive agents were all independent predictors of inhospital mortality (P = .001) but that type of monitoring was not (P = .638).Conclusions:In a 5-year period, the decreased insertions of PACs were replaced by increased utilization of less-invasive hemodynamic monitoring devices. This change in practice did not adversely impact mortality.

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