Early physiologic patterns in acute illness and accidents: Toward a concept of circulatory dysfunction and shock based on invasive and noninvasive hemodynamic monitoring

W. C. Shoemaker, C. C.J. Wo, D. Demetriades, H. Belzberg, J. A. Asensio, E. E. Cornwell, J. A. Murray, T. V. Berne, J. Adibi, R. S. Patil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The aim of the present study was to explore methods, concepts, and techniques that provide recognition of circulatory deficiencies at the earliest possible time in the patient's illness. We used both the standard invasive pulmonary artery thermodilution catheter and noninvasive hemodynamic monitoring systems consisting of a new bioimpedance cardiac output device, pulse oximetry, transcutaneous oxygen (PtCO2) and carbon dioxide tensions as well as the transcutaneous oxygen tension/fraction of inspired oxygen ratio (PtCO2/FIO2). These three noninvasive systems were used to evaluate cardiac function, pulmonary function, and tissue perfusion, respectively. This approach to early noninvasive monitoring is based on recent evidence suggesting that poor tissue perfusion and oxygenation initiate circulatory dysfunction that leads to shock and organ failure. We studied 303 acute episodes of circulatory dysfunction and shock in 261 patients in a university-run county hospital; 75 were acute traumatic injuries and 109 acute nontrauma medical emergencies on admission to the emergency department, and 77 ICU patients with an acute illness or exacerbation of their current illness. The study was a prospective, descriptive study to identify early abnormal circulatory patterns reflecting the cardiac, pulmonary, and perfusion functions associated with death and with survival. We described noninvasively monitored patterns in individual illustrative cases, in common etiologic groups, and in physiologic categories representing various abnormal functional patterns. We found that hypotensive shock usually was preceded by episodes of high flow followed by low flow and inadequate tissue perfusion indicated by reduced PtCO2; this frequent pattern was modified by associated co-morbid conditions, especially hypovolemia, limited cardiac reserve capacity, age, hypertensive states, and increased body metabolism from infection, trauma, stress, exercise, temperature, and endocrine disorders. Reduced pulmonary function occurred in 18% of emergency patients; these were usually patients with thoracic trauma, severe hypovolemia, head injuries, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, drug overdose, and central nervous system failure (massive stroke and coma). We concluded that noninvasive measurements identify early circulatory problems reliably and provide objective criteria for physiologic analysis as well as for definition of therapeutic goals and titration of therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-412
Number of pages18
JournalNew Horizons: Science and Practice of Acute Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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