Basic critical care echocardiography training of intensivists allows reproducible and reliable measurements of cardiac output

Christian Villavicencio, Julen Leache, Judith Marin, Iban Oliva, Alejandro Rodriguez, María Bodí, Nilam J. Soni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Although pulmonary artery catheters (PACs) have been the reference standard for calculating cardiac output, echocardiographic estimation of cardiac output (CO) by cardiologists has shown high accuracy compared to PAC measurements. A few studies have assessed the accuracy of echocardiographic estimation of CO in critically ill patients by intensivists with basic training. The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of CO measurements by intensivists with basic training using pulsed-wave Doppler ultrasound vs. PACs in critically ill patients. Methods: Critically ill patients who required hemodynamic monitoring with a PAC were eligible for the study. Three different intensivists with basic critical care echocardiography training obtained three measurements of CO on each patient. The maximum of three separate left-ventricular outflow tract diameter measurements and the mean of three LVOT velocity time integral measurements were used. The inter-observer reliability and correlation of CO measured by PACs vs. critical care echocardiography were assessed. Results: A total of 20 patients were included. Data were analyzed comparing the measurements of CO by PAC vs. echocardiography. The inter-observer reliability for measuring CO by echocardiography was good based on a coefficient of intraclass correlation of 0.6 (95% CI 0.48–0.86, p < 0.001). Bias and limits of agreement between the two techniques were acceptable (0.64 ± 1.18 L/min, 95% limits of agreement of − 1.73 to 3.01 L/min). In patients with CO < 6.5 L/min, the agreement between CO measured by PAC vs. echocardiography improved (0.13 ± 0.89 L/min; 95% limits of agreement of − 1.64 to 2.22 L/min). The mean percentage of error between the two methods was 17%. Conclusions: Critical care echocardiography performed at the bedside by intensivists with basic critical care echo-cardiography training is an accurate and reproducible technique to measure cardiac output in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalUltrasound Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cardiac output
  • Critical care echocardiography
  • Pulmonary artery catheter
  • Pulsed-wave Doppler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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