Ultrasound Assessment of the Change in Carotid Corrected Flow Time in Fluid Responsiveness in Undifferentiated Shock

Crit Care Med. 2018 Nov;46(11):e1040-e1046. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000003356.


Objectives: Adequate assessment of fluid responsiveness in shock necessitates correct interpretation of hemodynamic changes induced by preload challenge. This study evaluates the accuracy of point-of-care Doppler ultrasound assessment of the change in carotid corrected flow time induced by a passive leg raise maneuver as a predictor of fluid responsiveness. Noninvasive cardiac output monitoring (NICOM, Cheetah Medical, Newton Center, MA) system based on a bioreactance method was used.

Design: Prospective, noninterventional study.

Setting: ICU at a large academic center.

Patients: Patients with new, undifferentiated shock, and vasopressor requirements despite fluid resuscitation were included. Patients with significant cardiac disease and conditions that precluded adequate passive leg raising were excluded.

Interventions: Carotid corrected flow time was measured via ultrasound before and after a passive leg raise maneuver. Predicted fluid responsiveness was defined as greater than 10% increase in stroke volume on noninvasive cardiac output monitoring following passive leg raise. Images and measurements were reanalyzed by a second, blinded physician. The accuracy of change in carotid corrected flow time to predict fluid responsiveness was evaluated using receiver operating characteristic analysis.

Measurements and main results: Seventy-seven subjects were enrolled with 54 (70.1%) classified as fluid responders by noninvasive cardiac output monitoring. The average change in carotid corrected flow time after passive leg raise for fluid responders was 14.1 ± 18.7 ms versus -4.0 ± 8 ms for nonresponders (p < 0.001). Receiver operating characteristic analysis demonstrated that change in carotid corrected flow time is an accurate predictor of fluid responsiveness status (area under the curve, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.80-0.96) and a 7 ms increase in carotid corrected flow time post passive leg raise was shown to have a 97% positive predictive value and 82% accuracy in detecting fluid responsiveness using noninvasive cardiac output monitoring as a reference standard. Mechanical ventilation, respiratory rate, and high positive end-expiratory pressure had no significant impact on test performance. Post hoc blinded evaluation of bedside acquired measurements demonstrated agreement between evaluators.

Conclusions: Change in carotid corrected flow time can predict fluid responsiveness status after a passive leg raise maneuver. Using point-of-care ultrasound to assess change in carotid corrected flow time is an acceptable and reproducible method for noninvasive identification of fluid responsiveness in critically ill patients with undifferentiated shock.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Critical Illness
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / methods*
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Shock, Septic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Shock, Septic / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods