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:[citation needed]


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.[citation needed]

If the CI falls acutely below 2.2 L/min/m2, the patient may be in cardiogenic shock.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Cardiac Catheterization: Cardiovascular Tests and Procedures: Merck Manual Professional". Retrieved 2009-03-06.