How is the pulmonary artery catheterization (PAC) system manually calibrated?

Updated: Dec 22, 2017
  • Author: Bojan Paunovic, MD; Chief Editor: Karlheinz Peter, MD, PhD  more...
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Once zeroed, the monitoring system must be calibrated for accuracy. Currently, most monitors perform an automated electronic calibration.

Two methods are used to manually calibrate and check the system, as follows:

  • If the catheter has not been inserted, the distal tip of the PAC is raised to a specified height above the LA. For example, raising the tip 20 cm above the LA should produce a reading of approximately 15 mm Hg if the system is working properly (1 mm Hg equals 1.36 cm H2 O).

  • Alternatively, pressure can be applied externally to the transducer and adjusted to a known level using a mercury or aneroid manometer. The monitor then is adjusted to read this pressure, and the system is calibrated.

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