Introduction

Invasive blood pressure monitoring incorporates mechanical and electronic technologies that were formerly only used in the heart catheterization laboratory. With the introduction of disposable devices and modern computerized bedside monitors, clinicians can now conveniently obtain accurate and timely arterial and pulmonary artery pressures. To obtain and maintain the most accurate pressure waveforms and measurements, and to minimize risks to patients, clinicians must understand the principles of operation of these monitoring systems. The two principal purposes for inserting an arterial or pulmonary artery catheter are to measure intravascular pressures and to withdraw blood samples for blood gas or other biochemical analysis.

Continuous and accurate assessment of blood pressures can only be made by inserting vascular catheters. Having pressures displayed continuously permits timely detection of dangerous hemodynamic events and permits display of information to initiate or titrate patient therapy. However, invasive pressure monitoring provides accurate information only when correct equipment and techniques are used.

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