The Value of Monitoring Pulmonary Artery Pressure for Early Detection of Left Ventricular Failure Following Myocardial Infarction
Flow-directed catheters recorded serial changes in mean pulmonary artery pressure (PA) every 4 to 6 hours in 25 patients during the first 4 or 5 days following acute myocardial infarction. On the basis of the PA on admission, patients were divided into three groups. Patients in group 1 had normal PA (10-20 mm Hg) and maintained a stroke volume index (SVI)>35 ml/min/m2, a pulmonary artery oxygen saturation (MVSO2)>70%, and a normal cardiac index, arterial oxygen saturation, pH, and PCOCO2. They developed only minor arrhythmias, no heart failure, and none died. Group 3 consisted of one patient with abnormally low PA (<10 mm Hg) who was hypovolemic. Group 2, those patients with elevated PA (>20 mm Hg) who maintained this elevation over the first 48 hours of monitoring, or showed progressive elevation prior to this, had SVI<35 ml/min/m2, MVSO2<70%, cardiac index<3 liters/min/m2, arterial desaturation, and respiratory alkalosis. They demonstrated clinical evidence of heart failure, had major arrhythmias, and 25% died. Three patients with elevated PA on admission spontaneously returned this pressure to normal over the first 48 hours of monitoring. Each of these patients maintained normal hemodynamics and had a good prognosis. PA was always elevated prior to the usual clinical signs of left ventricular failure. We conclude that PA provides a reliable early objective measure of left ventricular failure and is, therefore, an excellent guide to therapy.
- Received September 25, 1970.
- Accepted February 4, 1971.
- © 1971 American Heart Association, Inc.