BACKGROUND: In major burn patients, many invasive monitors including a pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) are often required to assess hemodynamic status. An esophageal Doppler monitor (EDM), as a noninvasive method of measuring hemodynamic parameters, may be a substitute for a PAC in this clinical circumstance. This study was conducted to evaluate the validity of Doppler derived hemodynamic indices in comparison to that of a PAC. METHODS: A total of 20 critically ill, severe burn patients, scheduled for an elective escharectomy and application of artificial dermis, were enrolled for the placement of a PAC and EDM. Simultaneous data was collected in regular intervals and the various parameters were compared between the two methods. RESULTS: A total of 158 pairs of data in 20 patients were gathered. Among all the parameters, cardiac output (CO) and stroke volume (SV) showed consistently 20% less in EDM. Correlation coefficients of heart rate (HR), CO, SV and systemic vascular resistance (SVR) were 0.97, 0.54, 0.62, and 0.68 respectively. Corrected flow time (FTc) had poor correlations with central venous pressure (CVP) and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP). In the mean time, significant, but very weak correlations with FTc vs. CO and SV were demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: EDM may be a substitute for a thermodilution (TD) PAC technique, it can be used with usefulness for hemodynamic and preload assessment in major burn patients.