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Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 33  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 79 - 86

Clinical applications of pulse transit time in paediatric critical care

J. Y. A. Foo and S. J. Wilson    

Abstract: A simple and non-invasive technique, termed pulse transit time (PTT), has shown its potential in long-term investigations such as respiratory sleep studies and cardiovascular studies. Based on these findings, the PTT technique shows relevance for continuous haemodynamic monitoring in critical care. The objective of this review is to understand the potential, applications and limitations of PTT in this clinical setting. Present non-invasive haemodynamic monitoring methods such as automated oscillometric blood pressure (BP) and auscultatory techniques have their known limitations. They tend to underestimate systolic BP while overestimating diastolic BP. Due to the periodic increase in cuff pressure cycles during data acquisition, these techniques may cause much discomfort in elderly geriatric patients, or lessen the cooperation of younger paediatric patients. Thus, there can be adverse effects on therapeutic decisions and possibly clinical outcomes. Documented evidences have indicated that changes observed in PTT are inversely correlated to the corresponding BP changes. In critical care, a simple and accommodating technique like PTT may be useful in providing better comfort for patients during extended monitoring. Being a semi-quantitative measure, blanket recommendations for its utility can then become possible. The basic instrumentations needed are often part of standard critical care monitoring system. Furthermore, PTT also has the potential to monitor the often tachypnoeic respiratory dependent BP changes seen in small infants during critical care.

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