A study performed on 33 blood donors shows that pulse flow drops significantly and substantially after loss of one unit of blood when there has been no change in blood pressure. This suggests that the Pulse Flowmeter may be useful in early detection of blood loss during surgery and in the peri-operative period. (There is no data yet on patients undergoing hemodynamically significant blood loss in surgery).

DETECTION AND TREATMENT OF BLOOD LOSS: The Pulse Flowmeter is sensitive to changes in peripheral vascular flow secondary to blood loss  before other vital signs, such as blood pressure or pulse oximetry change.  Thus, pulse flow measurements may be very useful when blood loss is occult or quantification of visible blood loss is difficult or impossible.

Post-Op - After surgery, there is often occult blood loss. Patients may be monitored with the Pulse Flowmeter to determine if there are significant decreases in flow which may indicate such occult hemorrhage has taken placey. A drop in pulse flow relative to flow measurements made prior to starting surgery might be an indication that hypovolemia secondary to hemorrhage may have taken place.

Trauma – When trauma patients are first seen by medical personnel, they may have already suffered significant blood loss.  An ultrasound scan is usually performed to identify abdominal, pleural and pericardial bleeding. Blood and/or other are usually administered. Unfortunately blood replacement and other fluids are often given in excess leading to shock lung. The Pulse Flowmeter might be able to guide physicians as to when it is OK to stop giving volume.

Femoral Artery Rupture - A rare but extremely serious complication of intra-aortic balloon pumping is rupture of the femoral artery upon removal of a damaged, blood-filled balloon.  This can result in occult retro-peritoneal blood loss which will cause a decrease in pulse flow.  Such an occurrence may be determined by the Pulse Flowmeter.

Battlefield Injuries – Soldiers having sustained serious internal injuries accompanied by bleeding will have markedly reduced pulse flow before the onset of shock.  The U.S. Army’s Combat Causality Care Center has indicated that a miniaturized and simplified version of the Pulse Flowmeter would be of value to them for assessment of such battlefield injuries.   

Because the Pulse Flowmeter provides information about  peripheral blood flow, it suggests that the measurement may be also useful for the management of shock and other medical conditions including vascular instability of the infant in the neonatal ICU, intra-aortic blood pump use, congestive heart failure, use of vasoactive medications, syncope, dehydration, deep vein thrombosis, thermal injuries, renal dialysis, assessing the integrity of the palmar arch before performing radial artery harvesting or radial artery cardiac catheterization, surrogate for cardiac output monitoring and hypertension.

Click to see a discussion of possible use of pulse flowmetry in shock.

Click to see a discussion of possible uses in other medical conditions.

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