Central venous pressure (CVP) refers to the blood pressure within the central veins, specifically the superior vena cava, which is the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the upper body back to the heart. CVP represents the blood pressure in the right atrium and reflects the volume of blood returning to the heart and the ability of the heart to pump blood effectively.
CVP is measured using a catheter, such as the Swan-Ganz catheter mentioned earlier, which is inserted into a central vein, usually the internal jugular vein or the subclavian vein, and advanced until it reaches the desired location near the right atrium.
The CVP measurement provides important information about the patient's intravascular fluid status and cardiac function. It helps clinicians assess the effectiveness of fluid management and monitor the response to treatment in critically ill patients, especially those with cardiac or circulatory conditions.
Normal CVP values typically range from 2 to 8 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) at rest, but the interpretation of CVP readings depends on the clinical context and individual patient factors. For example, low CVP may indicate hypovolemia (low blood volume), while high CVP can suggest fluid overload or impaired cardiac function.
It's important to note that CVP alone does not provide a complete picture of a patient's hemodynamic status. It is usually evaluated in conjunction with other parameters, such as arterial blood pressure, cardiac output, pulmonary artery pressure, and oxygenation levels, to guide appropriate clinical management decisions.