Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Clinical Research

Comparative study between suprasternal and apical windows: a user-friendly cardiac output measurement for the anesthesiologist

Rafaela Souto e Souza, Wendhell Barros de Melo, Claudia Maria Vilas Freire, Walkiria Wingester Vilas Boas

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Transthoracic echocardiography is a safe and readily available tool for noninvasive monitoring of Cardiac Output (CO). The use of the suprasternal window situated at the sternal notch can be an alternative approach for estimating blood flow. The present study aimed to compare two methods of CO calculation. We compared the descending aorta Velocity-Time Integral (VTI) measurement from the suprasternal window view with the standard technique to determine CO that uses VTI measurements from the LVOT (Left Ventricular Outflow Tract) view. We also aimed to find out whether after basic training a non-echocardiographer operator can obtain reproducible measurements of VTI using this approach.

In the first part of the study, 26 patients without known cardiovascular diseases were evaluated and VTI data were acquired from the suprasternal window by a non-echocardiographer and an echocardiographer. Next, 17 patients were evaluated by an echocardiographer only and VTI and CO measurements were obtained from suprasternal and apical windows. Data were analyzed using the Bland and Altman method (BA), correlation and regression.

We found a strong correlation between measurements obtained by a non-expert and an expert echocardiographer and detected that an inexperienced trainee can acquire VTI measurements from the suprasternal window view. Regarding agreement between CO measurements, data obtained showed a positive correlation and the Bland and Altman analysis presented a total variation of 38.9%.

Regarding accuracy, it is likely that TTE (Transthoracic Echocardiogram) measurements of CO from the suprasternal window view are comparable to other minimally invasive techniques currently available. Due to its user-friendliness and low cost, it can be a convenient technique for obtaining perioperative hemodynamic measurements, even by inexperienced operators.


Non-invasive monitoring;  Echocardiogram;  Cardiac output;  Doppler ultrasonography


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