Performance of a 25% Inferior Vena Cava Collapsibility in Detecting Fluid Responsiveness When Assessed by Novice Versus Expert Physician Sonologists

J Intensive Care Med. 2020 Dec;35(12):1520-1528. doi: 10.1177/0885066619881123. Epub 2019 Oct 14.


Objectives: Inferior vena cava collapsibility (cIVC) measured by point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has been proposed as a noninvasive means of assessing fluid responsiveness. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the performance of a 25% cIVC cutoff value to detect fluid responsiveness among spontaneously breathing intensive care unit (ICU) patients when assessed with POCUS by novice versus expert physician sonologists.

Methods: Prospective observational study of spontaneously breathing ICU patients. Fluid responsiveness was defined as a >10% increase in cardiac index following a 500 mL fluid bolus, measured by bioreactance. Novice sonologist measured cIVC with POCUS. Their measurements were later compared to an expert physician sonologist who independently reviewed the POCUS images and assessed cIVCs.

Results: Of the 85 participants, 44 (52%) were fluid responders. A 25% cIVC cutoff value performed better when assessed by expert sonologists than novice physician sonologists (receiver-operator characteristic curve, ROC = 0.82 [0.74-0.88] vs ROC = 0.69 [0.60-0.77]).

Conclusions: A 25% cIVC cutoff value measured by POCUS detects fluid responsiveness. However, the experience of the physician sonologist affects test performance and should be considered when interpreting and clinically using cIVC to direct intravenous fluid resuscitation.

Keywords: fluid responsiveness; inferior vena cava; novice sonologist; point-of-care ultrasound; spontaneously breathing.