Bedside Ultrasound for Guiding Fluid Removal in Patients with Pulmonary Edema: The Reverse-FALLS Protocol

J Vis Exp. 2018 Jul 28;(137):57631. doi: 10.3791/57631.


Fluid retention is the most common risk factor for mortality and cardiovascular complications in patients with volume-overloaded disease states. The extent of diuresis or fluid removal is frequently determined by physical examination which is subject to inaccuracies. Bedside ultrasound (US) is a portable tool that brings real-time diagnostic imaging to the patient's bedside. This versatile modality makes it possible for the clinician to investigate patients' extravascular and intravascular volume states. The extravascular volume, particularly in the case of pulmonary edema, can be quantitatively assessed by US of the anterior chest. Intravascular volume is estimated by visualizing the inferior vena cava (IVC) caliber. Taken together, the degree of extravascular lung water and the IVC caliber provide objective data that can guide the clinician to determine the level of diuresis needed to effectively yet safely treat pulmonary edema. The objective of this article is threefold: 1) to summarize the findings of previous studies on the efficacy of portable US to guide fluid management, 2) to describe a proposed ultrasound protocol to help guide fluid management, and 3) to elucidate techniques that address the measurement of intravascular and extravascular volumes using portable US.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Edema / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography / methods*