Key messages

• The gravimetric measurement of extravascular lung water is considered to be the gold standard against which other methods are compared.

• Although chest radiography is the most common technique used in the further assessment of pulmonary edema, there are a variety of factors which reduce its accuracy.

• The indicator dilution technique relies upon the central injection of two indicators and their detection in the femoral artery. One (the non-diffusible indicator) remains confined to the intravascular space whilst the other (the diffusible indicator) distributes between the intravascular and extravascular spaces.

• Fluid management guided by measurement of extravascular lung water may improve outcome.

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