The PiCCO monitor: a review
Advanced haemodynamic monitoring remains a cornerstone in the management of the critically ill. While rates of pulmonary artery catheter use have been declining, there has been an increase in the number of alternatives for monitoring cardiac output as well as greater understanding of the methods and criteria with which to compare devices. The PiCCO (Pulse index Continuous Cardiac Output) device is one such alternative, integrating a wide array of both static and dynamic haemodynamic data through a combination of trans-cardiopulmonary thermodilution and pulse contour analysis. The requirement for intra-arterial and central venous catheterisation limits the use of PiCCO to those with evolving critical illness or at high risk of complex and severe haemodynamic derangement. While the accuracy of trans-cardiopulmonary thermodilution as a measure of cardiac output is well established, several other PiCCO measurements require further validation within the context of their intended clinical use. As with all advanced haemodynamic monitoring systems, efficacy in improving patient-centred outcomes has yet to be conclusively demonstrated. The challenge with PiCCO is in improving the understanding of the many variables that can be measured and integrating those that are clinically relevant and adequately validated with appropriate therapeutic interventions.