Standardization of non-invasive impedance cardiography for assessment of stroke volume: comparison with thermodilution

H H Woltjer, H J Bogaard, G J Scheffer, H I van der Spoel, M A Huybregts, P M de Vries

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Since its introduction by Kubicek and colleagues, impedance cardiography has been suggested as a non-invasive, simple, safe and cost-effective method of measuring stroke volume. Several controversial reports on its validity have been published. Pitfalls of this method included the nature of the electrode system and the validity of the equations. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare two different spot electrode arrays and the two most frequently used stroke volume equations with each other and with thermodilution. In 37 patients, 24-36 h after cardiac surgery, we performed simultaneous measurements of stroke volume with impedance cardiography (SVIC) and with thermodilution (SVTD). SVIC was obtained using the lateral spot (LS) electrode array, according to Bernstein, and a newly proposed modified semi-circular (MSC) spot electrode array. The equations of Kubicek and Sramek-Bernstein were used to calculate SVIC. The Sramek-Bernstein equation was valid only when the LS array was used; the Kubicek equation determined SVTD correctly only when the MSC array was used. However, a considerably better correlation and agreement (mean difference (2 SD)) was found between SVIC and SVTD for the latter (r = 0.90, 0.5 (17.1) ml vs r = 0.64, -4.9 (31.8) ml for the Sramek-Bernstein equation). We conclude that the most valid measurement of stroke volume using impedance cardiography was obtained when the MSC array was used together with Kubicek's equation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-52
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1996


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiography, Impedance/methods
  • Coronary Artery Bypass
  • Electrodes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Monitoring, Physiologic/methods
  • Postoperative Care/methods
  • Stroke Volume
  • Thermodilution

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