BACKGROUND: The number of high-risk patients undergoing surgery is steadily increasing. In order to maintain and, if necessary, optimize perioperative hemodynamics as well as the oxygen supply to the organs (DO2) in this patient population, a timely assessment of cardiac function and the underlying pathophysiological causes of hemodynamic instability is essential for the anesthesiologist. A variety of hemodynamic monitoring procedures are available for this purpose; however, due to method-immanent limitations they are often not able to directly identify the underlying cause of cardiovascular impairment.
OBJECTIVE: To present a stepwise algorithm for a perioperative echocardiography-based hemodynamic optimization in noncardiac surgery high-risk patients. In this context, echocardiography on demand according to international guidelines can be performed under certain conditions (hemodynamic instability, nonresponse to hemodynamic treatment) as well as in the context of a planned intraoperative procedure, mostly as a transesophageal echocardiography.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Hemodynamically focused echocardiography as a rapidly available bedside method, enables the timely diagnosis and assessment of cardiac filling obstructions, volume status and volume response, right and left heart function, and the function of the heart valves.
CONCLUSION: Integrating all echocardiographic findings in a differentiated assessment of the patient's cardiovascular function enables a (patho)physiologically oriented and individualized hemodynamic treatment.