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Cardiac index

Cardiac index (CI) is a haemodynamic parameter that relates the cardiac output (CO) from left ventricle in one minute to body surface area (BSA),[1] thus relating heart performance to the size of the individual. The unit of measurement is litres per minute per square metre (L/min/m2).


The index is usually calculated using the following formula:


Cardiac index
Body surface area
Stroke volume
Heart rate
Cardiac output

Clinical significance

The normal range of cardiac index at rest is 2.6–4.2 L/min/m2.

The cardiac index is frequently measured and used in both intensive care medicine and cardiac intensive care. The CI is a useful marker of how well the heart is functioning as a pump by directly correlating the volume of blood pumped by the heart with an individual's body surface area.

If the CI falls below 2.2 L/min/m2, the patient may be in cardiogenic shock.