The purpose of this course is to review the methods and measurement of hemodynamic parameters. Parameters such as CVP measurement, mean arterial pressure, cardiac output and intracardiac pressures are important to the care and treatment of critically ill patients. Nurses are responsible for the collection, measurement and interpretation of these dynamic patient status parameters.

Until the advent of indwelling intravascular catheters, hemodynamics, or the forces circulating blood, had to be measured indirectly. Clinicians assessed the patient's hemodynamic status with: history taking, physical assessment, palpation, auscultation, sphygmomanometer* and the electrocardiogram. Direct measurement, via indwelling catheters, provides additional real time information that allows intervention prior to organ or system failure.

This course will begin with methods of noninvasive hemodynamic monitoring, and then continue on to invasive monitoring with Central Venous Pressure (CVP), Arterial Pressure, and Pulmonary Artery Catheter (PAC) monitoring.

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Hemodynamics are the forces which circulate blood through the body.

*Sphygmomanometers are indirect blood pressure measuring devices.