OBJECTIVE: To illustrate the possible role of cerebral oximetry and stroke distance as measured by Doppler ultrasound in monitoring the critically ill patient non-invasively in the emergency department. METHODS: Five critically ill patients were monitored with either cerebral oximetry or both cerebral oximetry and stroke distance (the distance travelled by blood in the aorta with each ventricular contraction), as measured by Doppler ultrasound of the aortic arch. CONCLUSIONS: Stroke distance as measured by Doppler ultrasound was a good clinical indication of reduced stroke volume and hence of cardiac output. Cerebral oximetry appears to be a useful measure of tissue hypoxia in patients in whom pulse oximetry is either unrecordable or unreliable.
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