The Futility of Orthostatic Measurements

Are you still doing orthostatic measurements (i.e. lying and standing blood pressures or heart rate changes) for assessing volume status and acute volume loss?

Maybe you’ll stop after hearing Anand (@EMSwami) Swaminathan’s investigation into the (lack of) evidence for this widely accepted pseudoaxiomatic urban legend

Assess for orthostatic symptoms, not blood pressure changes.

Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also the Innovation Lead for the Australian Centre for Health Innovation at Alfred Health and Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of two amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

One comment

  1. It seems somewhat contradictory to say that baseline orthostatic changes are present in 44-50% of healthy volunteers, but that their sensitivity in moderate blood loss is only 22% for HR/BP changes. Does this not imply that the frequency of observed changes nearly halved after blood donation? These results seem highly counter-intuitive, and I would think raise a reason to be sceptical about the reproducibility of the findings.

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