Prospective evaluation of intravascular volume status in critically ill patients: does inferior vena cava collapsibility correlate with central venous pressure?

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2014 Apr;76(4):956-63; discussion 963-4. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000000152.


Background: In search of a standardized noninvasive assessment of intravascular volume status, we prospectively compared the sonographic inferior vena cava collapsibility index (IVC-CI) and central venous pressures (CVPs). Our goals included the determination of CVP behavior across clinically relevant IVC-CI ranges, examination of unitary behavior of IVC-CI with changes in CVP, and estimation of the effect of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) on the IVC-CI/CVP relationship.

Methods: Prospective, observational study was performed in surgical/medical intensive care unit patients between October 2009 and July 2013. Patients underwent repeated sonographic evaluations of IVC-CI. Demographics, illness severity, ventilatory support, CVP, and patient positioning were recorded. Correlations were made between CVP groupings (<7, 7-12, 12-18, 19+) and IVC-CI ranges (<25, 25-49, 50-74, 75+). Comparison of CVP (2-unit quanta) and IVC-CI (5-unit quanta) was performed, followed by assessment of per-unit ΔIVC-CI/ΔCVP behavior as well as examination of the effect of PEEP on the IVC-CI/CVP relationship.

Results: We analyzed 320 IVC-CI/CVP measurement pairs from 79 patients (mean [SD] age, 55.8 [16.8] years; 64.6% male; mean [SD] Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II, 11.7 [6.21]). Continuous data for IVC-CI/CVP correlated poorly (R = 0.177, p < 0.01) and were inversely proportional, with CVP less than 7 noted in approximately 10% of the patients for IVC-CIs less than 25% and CVP less than 7 observed in approximately 85% of patients for IVC-CIs greater than or equal to 75%. Median ΔIVC-CI per unit CVP was 3.25%. Most measurements (361 of 320) were collected in mechanically ventilated patients (mean [SD] PEEP, 7.76 [4.11] cm H2O). PEEP-related CVP increase was approximately 2 mm Hg to 2.5 mm Hg for IVC-CIs greater than 60% and approximately 3 mm Hg to 3.5 mm Hg for IVC-CIs less than 30%. PEEP also resulted in lower IVC-CIs at low CVPs, which reversed with increasing CVPs. When IVC-CI was examined across increasing PEEP ranges, we noted an inverse relationship between the two variables, but this failed to reach statistical significance.

Conclusion: IVC-CI and CVP correlate inversely, with each 1 mm Hg of CVP corresponding to 3.3% median ΔIVC-CI. Low IVC-CI (<25%) is consistent with euvolemia/hypervolemia, while IVC-CI greater than 75% suggests intravascular volume depletion. The presence of PEEP results in 2 mm Hg to 3.5 mm Hg of CVP increase across the IVC-CI spectrum and lower collapsibility at low CVPs. Although IVC-CI decreased with increasing degrees of PEEP, this failed to reach statistical significance. While this study represents a step forward in the area of intravascular volume estimation using IVC-CI, our findings must be applied with caution owing to some methodologic limitations.

Level of evidence: Diagnostic study, level III. Prognostic study, level III.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Volume / physiology*
  • Central Venous Pressure / physiology*
  • Critical Illness*
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / physiopathology*