A Review of Central Venous Pressure and Its Reliability as a Hemodynamic Monitoring Tool in Veterinary Medicine

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To review the current literature regarding central venous pressure (CVP) in veterinary patients pertaining to placement (of central line), measurement, interpretation, use in veterinary medicine, limitations, and controversies in human medicine.


CVP use in human medicine is a widely debated topic, as numerous sources have shown poor correlation of CVP measurements to the volume status of a patient. Owing to the ease of placement and monitoring in veterinary medicine, CVP remains a widely used modality for evaluating the hemodynamic status of a patient. A thorough evaluation of the veterinary and human literature should be performed to evaluate the role of CVP measurements in assessing volume status in veterinary patients.


Veterinary patients that benefit from accurate CVP readings include those suffering from hypovolemic or septic shock, heart disease, or renal disease or all of these. Other patients that may benefit from CVP monitoring include high-risk anesthetic patients undergoing major surgery, trending of fluid volume status in critically ill patients, patients with continued shock, and patients that require rapid or large amounts of fluids.


The goal of CVP use is to better understand a patient’s intravascular volume status, which would allow early goal-directed therapy.


CVP would most likely continue to play an important role in the hemodynamic monitoring of the critically ill veterinary patient; however, when available, cardiac output methods should be considered the first choice for hemodynamic monitoring.

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