Interpreting the Arterial Pressure Waveform in the Intra-aortic Balloon-Pumped Patient

Susan J. Quaal, PhD, APRN, CVS, CCRN, University of Utah Health Sciences Center and Department of Cardiology, VA Salt LakeHealthcare System

Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2001;16(3) 

In This Article

Bedside Monitor Assessment of Iab-Pumped Arterial Waveform

Bedside monitors analyze the arterial waveform over several seconds and display an average of the highest and lowest pressure points measured during the sampling period. They are not programmed to distinguish between a high pressure point generated by a patient's intrinsic systole or by balloon inflation during diastole. It is both confusing and inaccurate to record "blood presssure" from the bedside digital display during balloon pumping. Serious errors can occur if one nurse records systole as the patient's actual systolic pressure and another nurse erroneously documents systole as the high pressure point actually occurring during diastolic balloon inflation. Thus, it is recommended that the digital bedside display not be used during IAB pumping. Figure 4 illustrates a sample flow sheet that can be used to document the expanded pressures from an IAB-pumped patient.

Sample documentation flowsheet for blood pressure in the intra-aortic balloon-pumped patient.


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