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December 19, 2001

Does Right Heart Catheterization Prevent Perioperative Complications?

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(23):2940-2941. doi:10.1001/jama.286.23.2940

To the Editor: Dr Polanczyk and colleagues1 concluded that, after controlling for disease severity, postoperative cardiac events and outcomes were no different in patients who received RHC vs those who did not. It is debatable, however, whether these are suitable end points for studying an intervention such as RHC, which has 2 functions. First, it can be used as a diagnostic tool, such as in differentiating the etiology of shock. Second, it can be used to guide therapy with fluids or vasoactive drugs. However, RHC itself is not therapeutic.