Predicting fluid responsiveness in ICU patients: a critical analysis of the evidence

Chest. 2002 Jun;121(6):2000-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.121.6.2000.


Study objective: To identify and critically review the published peer-reviewed, English-language studies investigating predictive factors of fluid responsiveness in ICU patients.

Design: Studies were collected by doing a search in MEDLINE (from 1966) and scanning the reference lists of the articles. Studies were selected according to the following criteria: volume expansion performed in critically ill patients, patients classified in two groups (responders and nonresponders) according to the effects of volume expansion on stroke volume or on cardiac output, and comparison of responder and nonresponder patients' characteristics before volume expansion.

Results: Twelve studies were analyzed in which the parameters tested were as follows: (1) static indicators of cardiac preload (right atrial pressure [RAP], pulmonary artery occlusion pressure [PAOP], right ventricular end-diastolic volume [RVEDV], and left ventricular end-diastolic area [LVEDA]); and (2) dynamic parameters (inspiratory decrease in RAP [Delta RAP], expiratory decrease in arterial systolic pressure [Delta down], respiratory changes in pulse pressure [Delta PP], and respiratory changes in aortic blood velocity [Delta Vpeak]). Before fluid infusion, RAP, PAOP, RVEDV, and LVEDA were not significantly lower in responders than in nonresponders in three of five studies, in seven of nine studies, in four of six studies, and in one of three studies, respectively. When a significant difference was found, no threshold value could discriminate responders and nonresponders. Before fluid infusion, Delta RAP, Delta down, Delta PP, and Delta Vpeak were significantly higher in responders, and a threshold value predicted fluid responsiveness with high positive (77 to 95%) and negative (81 to 100%) predictive values.

Conclusion: Dynamic parameters should be used preferentially to static parameters to predict fluid responsiveness in ICU patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure
  • Critical Care*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Plasma Substitutes*
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke Volume


  • Plasma Substitutes