Clinician-performed ultrasound in hemodynamic and cardiac assessment: a synopsis of current indications and limitations

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2015 Oct;41(5):469-80. doi: 10.1007/s00068-014-0492-6. Epub 2015 Jan 8.


Accurate hemodynamic and intravascular volume status assessment is essential in the diagnostic and therapeutic management of critically ill patients. Over the last two decades, a number of technological advances were translated into a variety of minimally invasive or non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring modalities. Despite the promise of less invasive technologies, the quality, reliability, reproducibility, and generalizability of resultant hemodynamic and intravascular volume status data have been lacking. Since its formal introduction, ultrasound technology has provided the medical community with a more standardized, higher quality, broadly applicable, and reproducible method of accomplishing the above-mentioned objectives. With the advent of portable, hand-carried devices, the importance of sonography in hemodynamic and volume status assessment became clear. From basic venous collapsibility and global cardiac assessment to more complex tasks such as the assessment of cardiac flow and tissue Doppler signals, the number of real-life indications for sonology continues to increase. This review will provide an outline of the essential ultrasound applications in hemodynamic and volume status assessment, focusing on evidence-based uses and indications.

Keywords: Echocardiography; Hemodynamic assessment; Inferior vena cava collapsibility index (IVC-CI); Intravascular volume estimation; Point-of-care testing; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Medicine / methods
  • Electrocardiography
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / diagnostic imaging