Inferior Vena Cava Ultrasonography for Volume Status Evaluation: An Intriguing Promise Never Fulfilled

J Clin Med. 2023 Mar; 12(6): 2217. Published online 2023 Mar 13. doi: 10.3390/jcm12062217

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Pierpaolo Di Nicolò, Guido Tavazzi, Luca Nannoni, Francesco Corradi



The correct determination of volume status is a fundamental component of clinical evaluation as both hypovolaemia (with hypoperfusion) and hypervolaemia (with fluid overload) increase morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. As inferior vena cava (IVC) accounts for two-thirds of systemic venous return, it has been proposed as a marker of volaemic status by indirect assessment of central venous pressure or fluid responsiveness. Although ultrasonographic evaluation of IVC is relatively easy to perform, correct interpretation of the results may not be that simple and multiple pitfalls hamper its wider application in the clinical setting. In the present review, the basic elements of the pathophysiology of IVC behaviour, potential applications and limitations of its evaluation are discussed.


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