Noninvasive cardiac output measurement by inert gas rebreathing in suspected pulmonary hypertension

Stefania Farina, Giovanni Teruzzi, Gaia Cattadori, Cristina Ferrari, Stefano De Martini, Maurizio Bussotti, Giuseppe Calligaris, Antonio Bartorelli, Piergiuseppe Agostoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The objective of this study was to evaluate inert gas rebreathing (IGR) reliability in cardiac output (CO) measurement compared with Fick method and thermodilution. IGR is a noninvasive method for CO measurement; CO by IGR is calculated as pulmonary blood flow plus intrapulmonary shunt. IGR may be ideal for follow-up of patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH), sparing the need of repeated invasive right-sided cardiac catheterization. Right-sided cardiac catheterization with CO measurement by thermodilution, Fick method, and IGR was performed in 125 patients with possible PH by echocardiography. Patients were grouped according to right-sided cardiac catheterization-measured mean pulmonary and wedge pressures: normal pulmonary arterial pressure (n = 20, mean pulmonary arterial pressure = 18 ± 3 mm Hg, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure = 11 ± 5 mm Hg), PH and normal pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PH-NW, n = 37 mean pulmonary arterial pressure = 42 ± 13 mm Hg, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure = 11 ± 6 mm Hg), and PH and high pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PH-HW, n = 68, mean pulmonary arterial pressure = 37 ± 9 mm Hg, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure = 24 ± 6 mm Hg). Thermodilution and Fick measurements were comparable. Fick and IGR agreement was observed in normal pulmonary arterial pressure (CO = 4.10 ± 1.14 and 4.08 ± 0.97 L/min, respectively), whereas IGR overestimated Fick in patients with PH-NW and those with PH-HW because of intrapulmonary shunting overestimation in hypoxemic patients. When patients with arterial oxygen saturation (SO2) ≤90% were excluded, IGR and Fick agreement improved in PH-NW (CO = 4.90 ± 1.70 and 4.76 ± 1.35 L/min, respectively) and PH-HW (CO = 4.05 ± 1.04 and 4.10 ± 1.17 L/min, respectively). In hypoxemic patients, we estimated pulmonary shunt as Fick - pulmonary blood flow and calculated shunt as: -0.2423 × arterial SO 2 + 21.373 L/min. In conclusion, IGR is reliable for CO measurement in patients with PH with arterial SO2 >90%. For patients with arterial SO2 ≤90%, a new formula for shunt calculation is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-551
Number of pages6
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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