Skip to main content

Evaluation of cardiac function in septics patients by the PiCCO system

Background and goal of study

Myocardial dysfunction is a fundamental aspect of sepsis, but goal-directed therapy and accurate diagnosis at the bedside is a difficult challenge. We have evaluated myocardial function in the initial phase of sepsis by PiCCO device (pulse contour analysis and transpulmonary technique).

Materials and methods

Fifteen septic patients (Group A) and 15 nonseptic patients (Group B) were enrolled in this randomised, double-blind study and monitored by optical femoral artery catether and central vein catether for hemodynamic measurement. Cardiac output (CO), extravascular lung water index (EVLWI), intrathoracic blood volume index (ITBVI), DpDt max and stroke volume variation (SVV%) were measured. The hemodynamic and volumetric data were studied at T0 (basal), T1 (after colloid infusion 8 ± 4 ml/kg hydroxyethyl starch 130/0.4 for intravascular volume replacement) and T2 (inotropic support as dobutamine 4.5–7 μg/kg/min infusion for 45 min). Statistical analysis was performed by ANOVA test for repeated measurement. Data are shown as mean ± SD. A linear regression analysis was performed to evaluate correlation between indexes of cardiac function and preload indexes.


Table 1 reports the main results at T0.

Table 1

At T1, the DpDt max–ITBVI correlation was depressed in septic but not in nonseptic patients (P < 0.02), ITBVI improves in the nonseptic group (P < 0.05), and the ITBVI stroke volume index (SVI) was r = 0.49 in septic and r = 0.79 in nonseptic patients. At T2, DpDt max increased only in Group B (P < 0.05).


In early sepsis myocardial function is depressed as: DpDt max and SVI lay down at basal time and they do not increase during the study, SVV% improves, the DpDt max–ITBVI correlation is depressed during the fluid challenge and the cardiac response to dobutamine test is impaired.


  1. Wisner-Euteneir AJ, Lichtwarck-Aschoff M, Zimmerman G, et al.: Evaluation of the cardiac function index as a new bedside indicator of cardiac performance. Intensive Care Med 1994, 20: S21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Rivers E, Nguyen B, Havstad S, Ressler J, et al.: Early goal-directed therapy in the treatment of severe sepsis and septic shock. N Engl J Med 2001, 345: 1368-1377. 10.1056/NEJMoa010307

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Conforto, F., Gerecitano, M., Castagnoli, C. et al. Evaluation of cardiac function in septics patients by the PiCCO system. Crit Care 8 (Suppl 1), P59 (2004).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: