In critical care medicine, the use of transthoracic echo (TTE) is expanding. TTE can be used to measure dynamic parameters such as cardiac output (CO). An important asset of TTE is that it is a non-invasive technique. The Probefix is an external ultrasound holder strapped to the patient which makes it possible to measure CO using TTE in a fixed position possibly making the CO measurements more accurate compared to separate TTE CO measurements. The feasibility of the use of the Probefix to measure CO before and after a passive leg raising test (PLR) was studied. Intensive care patients were included after detection of hypovolemia using Flotrac. Endpoints were the possibility to use Probefix. Also CO measurements with and without the use of Probefix, before and after a PLR were compared to the CO measurements using Flotrac. Side effects in terms of skin alterations after the use of Probefix and patient’s comments on (dis)comfort were evaluated.
Ten patients were included; in eight patients, sufficient recordings with the use of Probefix could be obtained. Using Bland–Altman plots, no difference was found in accuracy of measurements of CO with or without the use of Probefix before and after a PLR compared to Flotrac generated CO. There were only mild and temporary skin effects of the use of Probefix.
In this small feasibility study, the Probefix could be used in eight out of ten intensive care patients. The use of Probefix did not result in more or less accurate CO measurements compared to manually recorded TTE CO measurements. We suggest that larger studies on the use of Probefix in intensive care patients are needed.