To evaluate physician assessment of cardiac output and systemic vascular resistance in patients with shock compared with an ultrasonic cardiac output monitor (USCOM). To explore potential changes in therapy decisions if USCOM data were available using physician intervention answers.Study design:
Double-blinded, prospective, observational study in a tertiary hospital pediatric intensive care unit. Forty children (< 18 years) admitted with shock, requiring ongoing volume resuscitation or inotropic support. Two to 3 physicians clinically assessed cardiac output and systemic vascular resistance, categorizing them as high, normal, or low. An investigator simultaneously measured cardiac index (CI) and systemic vascular resistance index (SVRI) with USCOM categorized as high, normal, or low.Results:
Overall agreement between physician and USCOM for CI (48.5% [κ = 0.18]) and SVRI (45.9% [κ = 0.16]) was poor. Interobserver agreement was also poor for CI (58.7% [κ = 0.33]) and SVRI (52.3% [κ = 0.28]). Comparing theoretical physician interventions to “acceptable” or “unacceptable” clinical interventions, based on USCOM measurement, 56 (21%) physician interventions were found to be “unacceptable.”Conclusions:
There is poor agreement between physician-assessed CI and SVRI and USCOM, with significant interobserver variability among physicians. Objective measurement of CI and SVRI may reduce variability and improve diagnostic accuracy.