AACN Advanced Critical Care:
Symposium: Sepsis

Hemodynamics in Sepsis

Ahrens, Tom DNS, RN, CS, FAAN

Section Editor(s): Ackerman, Michael H.

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Abstract

Hemodynamics in sepsis change as sepsis develops. Initial hemodynamics of sepsis often are much different from later stages of sepsis, shifting from low cardiac output states to high cardiac output states. Tissue oxygenation also changes with initial mixed venous oxyhemoglobin (Svo2) or central venous oxyhemoglobin (Scvo2) levels below normal, with later stages reflecting high values. These changes occur as sepsis progresses, producing a marked disturbance in capillary flow and tissue oxygenation. Treatments for these changes in sepsis are different, making the identification of the hemodynamic state essential to optimally treat the patient. Fortunately, hemodynamic monitoring techniques are markedly improved from older techniques such as the pulmonary artery catheter. With noninvasive techniques such as esophageal and external Doppler for measuring hemodynamics, clinicians beyond the intensive care unit can make hemodynamic assessments that were not possible until just recently. This improved assessment should make it much easier to properly identify sepsis and initiate appropriate treatments in a timely manner.

© 2006 American Association of Critical–Care Nurses

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