Doctors and veterinarians are interested in a quantity called the “cardiac output” which is a measure of the rate of blood flow being pumped by the heart.
To measure the cardiac output, a catheter (tube) is inserted through the heart. The catheter measures the temperature of the surrounding blood near the tip of the probe. The catheter has a small balloon at the tip which is inflated to help the probe move through the heart and then deflated. Once the catheter is inserted, ice water is injected through the catheter and emerges from a small hole approximately 12 inches before the end of the catheter.
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