Skip to main content

Is it possible to obtain Frank–Starling curves in the intensive care unit?


Oxygen delivery depends on cardiac output and oxygen arterial content. Adequate preload is important to optimize cardiac output. Optimal preload can be obtained through Frank–Starling curves, which are difficult to determine at the bedside. Thus, optimal preload is difficult to determine in the intensive care unit.


To evaluate the correlation between the wedge pressure and systolic volume in different subsets of shock.

Materials and methods

This study was undertaken in a general intensive care unit and enrolled 41 patients, with 334 hemodynamic measures in sepsis (139), in cardiogenic shock (119) and in hepatic transplantation (76) in the period from January to November 2002.


See Figure 1.

Figure 1
figure 1

R, Pearson correlation coefficient; R2, square Pearson correlation coefficient.


A higher wedge pressure is not associated with a greater systolic volume. Thus, the absolute value of the wedge pressure cannot be associated with optimal preload.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Machado, F., Amaral, A., Souza, M. et al. Is it possible to obtain Frank–Starling curves in the intensive care unit?. Crit Care 7, P42 (2003).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Oxygen
  • Public Health
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Cardiac Output
  • Emergency Medicine