Impedance Cardiography: The Next Vital Sign Technology

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Objective: To evaluate the following: (1) the intramethod variability of impedance cardiography (ICG) cardiac output (CO) measurements via the latest generation monitor and thermodilution CO measurements (CO-TDs); (2) the intermethod comparison of ICG CO and CO-TD; and (3) comparisons of the intergeneration ICG CO equation to CO-TD, using the latest ICG CO equation, the ZMARC (CO-ICG), and the predecessor equations for measuring the ICG CO of Kubicek (CO-K), Sramek (CO-S), and Sramek-Bernstein (CO-SB).

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: A cardiovascular-thoracic surgery ICU in a community university-affiliated hospital.

Patients: Post-coronary artery bypass graft patients (n = 53) in whom 210 pairs of CO measurements were made.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and Main Results: The CO-ICG was determined simultaneously while the nurse was performing the CO-TD. Variability within the monitoring method was better for CO-ICG compared to CO-TD (6.3% vs 24.7%, respectively). The correlation, bias, and precision of the CO-ICG was good compared to CO-TD (r2 = 0.658; r = 0.811; bias, −0.17 L/min; precision, 1.09 L/min; CO-ICG = 1.00 × CO-TD − 0.17; p < 0.001). A steady improvement in agreement of the previous ICG methodologies compared to CO-TD was observed as follows: (1) CO-K: r2 = 0.309; r = 0.556; bias, −1.71 L/min; precision, 1.81 L/min; CO-K = 0.78 × CO-TD − 0.45; p < 0.001; (2) CO-S: r2 = 0.361; r = 0.601; bias, −1.46 L/min; precision, 1.63 L/min; CO-S = 0.80 × CO-TD − 0.36; p < 0.001; and (3) CO-SB: r2 = 0.469; r = 0.685; bias, −0.77 L/min; precision, 1.69 L/min; CO-SB = 1.03 × CO-TD − 0.95; p < 0.001. The CO-ICG demonstrated the closest agreement to CO-TD.

Conclusion: The latest ICG technology for determining CO (CO-ICG) is less variable and more reproducible in an intrapatient sense than is CO-TD, it is equivalent to the average accepted CO-TD in post-coronary artery bypass graft patients, and showed marked improvement in agreement with CO-TD compared to measurements made using previous generation ICG CO equations.