Part of keeping patients safe during spine surgery is measuring pressure in their veins to see if they need more fluid or blood. This is often done using something called a ‘central venous catheter,’ inserted into the neck after they are asleep. The placement of this catheter carries risk, including the potential for a collapsed lung and infection.
The anesthesiologists are looking for a potentially safer alternative. They may have found it by measuring the pressure with an ordinary IV, which is inserted into the hand, instead of the neck.
This study wanted to see if the blood pressure readings in the hand were similar enough to that in the neck so that we may eventually replace the central catheter for the purpose of blood volume monitoring.
They found that in over 95% of the measurements taken, both catheters produced results within 2.78mmHg of each other. This suggests that peripheral venous catheter offer a viable alternative to the more risky central venous ones.
Memtsoudis SG, Jules-Elysee K, Girardi FP, Buschiazzo V, Maalouf D, Sama AA, Urban MK. Correlation between centrally versus peripherally transduced venous pressure in prone patients undergoing posterior spine surgery. Spine. 2008 Aug 15;33(18):E643-7.