Pulmonary Artery Catheter Waveform Interpretation Tool
[ Past project - Summary from 2007 ]

Developed in 1993, the original version of the Pulmonary Artery Catheter Waveform Interpretation Tool (PACath) was a Windows-based computer program that provided expert knowledge in interpreting and troubleshooting pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) waveforms. It emphasized problem-focused knowledge access and heavy use of graphics to explicate knowledge of relevant information associated with particular clinical contexts in PAC use. Released locally into the intensive and coronary care units at Massachusetts General Hospital, it was well received by nurses and house officers, and the original version of the system (which is now out of date) has been in continuous use in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit since then.

We are updating the original program to make it computer platform independent and available on every networked computer. We are also updating the content as needed to harmonize it with recent consensus recommendations for PAC waveform interpretation, as published by the Pulmonary Artery Catheter Education Project (PACEP). Both the original and Web-based versions include the following features:

  • Sample waveforms for every combination of location and situation to assist the user in waveform recognition
  • Explanations of the underlying physiology and/or system problems that contribute to the morphology of each particular waveform
  • Troubleshooting solutions in cases where waveform morphology is due to artifacts from problems in the system
  • Advice on obtaining the best measurement possible for each given waveform

Using Web-based technology facilitates maintenance of the program, monitoring the details of each use of the program, delivery of feedback from users, and widespread distribution of the application over the network.