Assessing cardiovascular status: A guide for acute care nurses
The function of the cardiovascular system is co transport oxygen, nutrients and hormones (0 the body's cells and to remove waste products from the cells (Darovic 2002). The delivery of oxygen and nutrients will not be adequate in all regions of the body if there is insufficient blood flow at insufficient pressure. Cardiac output is the principal determinant of the adequacy of cardiovascular function. Adequate oxygen and nutritional levels in the blood also contribute to the effectiveness of cardiovascular function. Many patients admitted to acute care areas of a hospital experience cardiovascular compromise due to conditions such as acute myocardial infarction (AM]), acute coronary syndrome or exacerbations of chronic heart failure. Additionally, patients can experience cardiovascular collapse due to bleeding or cardiac dysrhythmias postoperatively. As a consequence, nurses in acute care settings need to be competent in assessing the cardiovascular status of adult patients. The aim of this paper is to provide a framework for assessing the cardiovascular status of patients in acute care settings using the determinants of cardiac OUtput. We provide a brief review of the determinants of cardiac output before discussing both the aims of cardiovascular assessment and how to perform such an assessment.