An improved fibreoptic in vivo haemoreflection system has been used in over 200 patients. Continuous recording of oxygen saturation while moving the catheter permits measurement of simultaneous pressure and oxygen saturation at almost an unlimited number of sites through the right heart. The oxygen saturation can be continuously monitored and the response is sufficiently fast to permit investigation of changes in oxygen saturation during portions of the cardiac cycle. Dye dilution curves have been recorded from over 200 patients. The only blood withdrawn for the dye dilution curve was the 3 ml needed for checking the calibration of the instrument. We have found that the calibration is extremely stable. In some instances where it has been deemed impractical to obtain blood for calibration, the calibration factor for each catheter may be used. In any case, the calibration check is performed at the end of the study and does not present problems of sterility. The calibration factor may yield a correction factor which then applies uniformly to all the cardiac output values obtained during the study.
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