The effect of the Trendelenburg position on systemic and pulmonary hemodynamics in critically ill patients is not generally appreciated. This study examined the hemodynamic effect of 15–20° head-down tilt in 61 normotensive and 15 hypotensive patients with acute cardiac illness or sepsis. In normotensive patients, the head-down tilt increased the preload of both right and left ventricles, increased cardiac output slightly, decreased systemic vascular resistance, and did not change the mean arterial pressure. This effect was probably mediated by baroreceptor stimulation. In hypotensive patients, the Trendelenburg position did not increase preload, slightly increased afterload, and decreased cardiac output. This study failed to document any beneficial hemodynamic effect of the Trendelenburg position in critically ill normo- or hypotensive patients.
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