Echocardiographic assessment of preload responsiveness in critically ill patients

Cardiol Res Pract. 2012;2012:819696. doi: 10.1155/2012/819696. Epub 2011 Sep 12.


Fluid challenges are considered the cornerstone of resuscitation in critically ill patients. However, clinical studies have demonstrated that only about 50% of hemodynamically unstable patients are volume responsive. Furthermore, increasing evidence suggests that excess fluid resuscitation is associated with increased mortality. It therefore becomes vital to assess a patient's fluid responsiveness prior to embarking on fluid loading. Static pressure (CVP, PAOP) and echocardiographic (IVC diameter, LVEDA) parameters fails to predict volume responsiveness. However, a number of dynamic echocardiographic parameters which are based on changes in vena-caval dimensions or cardiac function induce by positive pressure ventilation or passive leg raising appear to be highly predictive of volume responsiveness.