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Since the combination of thermodilution with the balloon-tipped pulmonary arterial catheter by Swan and Ganz in the 1970s, researchers and clinicians have pursued the measurement and optimization of cardiac output to improve outcomes both in the operating room and the intensive care unit. Complications related to the invasiveness of this device have driven exploration of new methods to acquire the same information without the deleterious side effects, with mixed results. We will discuss several of these devices, the physical principles underlying their measurements, their relative accuracy compared to clinical and experimental standards, and clinical advantages and disadvantages of each device.