Laboratory and clinical tests were carried out to determine the clinical usefulness, validity, and safety of a new self-calibrating, battery-powered monitoring system for the measurement of intramuscular pressure with use of an electronic transducer-tipped catheter. The eight probes accurately recorded applied pressures ranging from zero to 160 millimeters of mercury (zero to 21.33 kilopascals). The system registered little temperature-induced drift (maximum, 1.25 millimeters of mercury [0.17 kilopascal]) between dry room temperature and 40 degrees Celsius. There were also minimum variations (range, -0.14 to 0.81 millimeter of mercury [0.02 to 0.11 kilopascal]) in the pressures recorded during a twenty-four-hour period. The resting pressure in the tibialis anterior muscle of twenty volunteers who had normal limbs was a mean (and standard deviation) of 13.1+/-8.3 millimeters of mercury (1.75+/-1.11 kilopascals). There was a good correlation between externally applied pressures (zero, twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, and 100 millimeters of mercury [zero, 2.67, 5.33, 8.00, 10.66, and 13.33 kilopascals] applied with use of antishock trousers) and the pressures measured in the tibialis anterior muscle of four volunteers (r = 0.997 to 0.999). The injection of sterile saline solution into the tibialis anterior muscle of a volunteer and the use of high-frequency recording during muscular activity showed a high degree of responsiveness and sensitivity to changes in intramuscular pressure. We also prospectively evaluated the clinical usefulness of the system and found it to be easy to assemble, calibrate, and use. Thus, this reusable, electronic transducer-tipped catheter system, which is based on a noninfusion technique, is simple, minimally traumatic, and highly precise. It is free of hydrostatic pressure artifacts and provides dynamic responses to changes in intramuscular pressure.
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