Objective: The authors determined whether the preoperative placement of a pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) with optimization of hemodynamics results in outcome improvement after elective vascular surgery. Summary Background Data: The PAC commonly is used not only in patients who are critically ill, but also perioperatively in major elective surgery. Few prospective studies exist documenting its usefulness. Methods: One hundred four consecutive patients were randomized to have a PAC placed the morning of operation (group I) or to have a PAC placed only if clinically indicated (group II), Group I patients were resuscitated to preestablished endpoints before surgery and kept at these points both intraoperatively and postoperatively. Group II patients received standard care. Results: There was one death in each group. An intraoperative or postoperative complication developed in 13 patients in group I versus 7 patients in group II (p = not significant). Group I patients received more fluid than did group II patients (5137 ± 315 mL vs. 3789 ± 306 mL; p < 0.003). There was no significant difference in either overall or surgical intensive care unit length of stay. Only one patient in group II required a postoperative PAC. Conclusions: Routine PAC use in elective vascular surgery increases the volume of fluid given to patients without demonstrable improvement in morbidity or mortality.
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